Toddler acts as if deaf(65 Posts)
My DS (aged 2.5) acts as if he's deaf a lot when I know he can hear me. I can understand if he is absorbed in an activity or if there's a lot of background noise or if I'm asking something too complicated to understand but this usually isn't the case. He just doesn't react or answer. Eventually if I ask the same thing over and over, he will respond. It is quite infuriating sometimes. Does anyone have any experience of this in their toddler?
DD is 21 months and I know she can hear ok and I know she knows her own name, but she never responds when I speak/call her name. She doesn't look up or anything. It's like my voice just disappears between my mouth and her ears.
totallyeggflipped that's exactly it. I even had his hearing tested and it was fine. Are you worried about it or just frustrated?
Well, she can hear the word chocolate whispered half a mile away, so I know there's nothing wrong with her hearing. I think maybe she's so used to having me there (SAHM) that she doesn't listen out for my voice at all. She responds very quickly to DH calling her.
Yes, selective hearing! I don't ask the same question over and over, just touch them/get in their line of sight so they can't ignore you.
Remember that at 2 they don't yet understand that ignoring someone is rude - if they aren't interested in what you are saying they might not see the point in responding.
My DS (2.8) does this. He's got a cold at the minute so actually is slightly deaf, which makes it even worse!
I agree about getting right down in front of them to speak, or getting their attention some other way first. It is frustrating, as I end up speaking to him in a loud voice and he then asks why I am cross...sigh...
totally ah the chocolate hearing test. Yes DS magically passes that too.
I guess I was getting anxious about something being actually wrong, such as aspergers. DS was never one for eye contact either when he was younger and didnt babble so I've had that in the back of my mind. But you are convincing me its normal toddler behaviour - which I'm glad about. What you say sam is reassuring as I can understand that they don't know it's rude at that age. That makes sense to me.
iwillonlyeatbeans DS has a cold at the mo. Maybe that's a contributing factor. Whatever it is - it drives me nuts sometimes!
Heh heh! Ours can always hear the words "Cake" or "Ice cream" even when whispered in another room, but not "Don't do that please", "Be gentle", "On the plate, not on the floor, please" "No!" etc...
My DD does this too, she 2.10 - it's infuriating! I feel like a broken record
According to EYFS framework it's normal up to about 22 MO for kids to become so engrrossed in something that they dont seem to hear you (not sure ours ever showed this, but it can be normal). If you don't already try always using the child's name when talking to them, and see if that grabs their attention.
What is he like with other people and other children?
amillionyears he's scared of new people. If anyone (eg a neighbour) speaks/looks to him, he will hide his face. When we have friends over, he will hide. If they try to give him a present or play with a toy he will throw it on the floor!
gourd he is 29 mos now. I don't know what the expected behaviour is for this age group. The blank look can be when he is not doing anything so he's not absorbed in activity. He can even be facing my way and I'll be saying his name but doesn't look at me.
kissyfur oh it is frustrating, isn't it? I don't know why it drives me nuts so much. I feel like a broken record too
Is he happy when he is doing his own thing?
One of my DDs is very sociable, but she also likes to retreat to her own room for an hour plus, at least a couple of times a day.
She has always been like this.
Does he have siblings
Does he play with other children
Does he go to nursery/playgroup
How is his speech? Paed told me that sometimes children with delayed speech blank you because its just too overwhleming not being able to communicate back.
If you are worried about his development, make a list of everything that is concerning you and take it to gp. Could be just "him" or could be a sign of something.
amillionyears he is a 4mos old brother. So not old enough to play with. We used to go to groups before his brother was born but we don't any more as its quite difficult to get out the house. He has gone to nursery one day a week for about a year - never liked it. So we are in the process of changing it. So I think in the answer to your question - I've never really seen how he plays with other children. We have regular friend over with her little girl. He's fine with her. They don't play together as such but tolerate being in the same room :-)
At the groups he'd play with us and ignore the other children. This has never worried me because we are obviously familiar to him.
doubleyew he did have a speech delay but is now talking in two word sentences happily with a good vocab (with longer sentences too). I think aspergers children are said not to have speech delays or so I read. I'm quite conscious of how I speak to him and try really hard to speak simply. It's very difficult to grasp how much is going in and whether he's actually listening. Sometimes he surprises me because he clearly has heard me and I hadn't realised.
Does he have and like storytime with you?
Is he talkative at home?
Is he happy doing his own thing.
Does he interact much with his brother
What is he like when he is hungry, is communication between you and him fine in those circumstances?
Does he act as if he is engrossed in whatever he does
Sorry for all the questions,I am not a professional btw, just trying to see the big picture.
Need to go offline but will pop back to answer later...
I get the same from my 4 year old and have just got a referral for a hearing test.
He has had a few ear infections and mostly has colds constantly. I'm concerned there might be a link. Maybe he needs gromets. Same for yours perhaps?
I've been reflecting on what doubleyew said and wonder if it's partly to do with not understanding everything. I don't know if we assume that he understands much more than he does because he's so advanced on picking up some things. Maybe his understanding is fine but expressing himself is difficult?
amillionyears he is very talkative at home and tries to play with his brother. In fact, I'd say he says hello to his brother first before anyone else most of the time. There seems to be genuine affection there.
He doesn't tell us he is hungry.
He likes us (me and his dad) to play with his - he bosses us around no end to push trains. But he's always been happy to play for literally an hour at a time with a piece of string or stick as a pretend train by himself. He can be very repetitive!
People have described him as being lost in his little world. This was the original reason why we discovered his language delay and had his hearing checked as nursery staff pointed out that he didn't seem to respond at all to his name when he was fifteen months.
But he has always been more interested in things rather than people. His first words were to do with numbers and the alphabet - mummy came months and months later.
I'm not sure how much is relevant but thought I'd answer your questions as fully as poss.
I'm sure a lot is normal toddler behaviour. But every now and then, I question some things - particularly when I've had a tough day!. He is a bit different from other kids in his interests but all kids are different I guess.
wingcommandermoi does your little boy has a language delay too?
Apart from him having a hearing test, have you spoken to your GP about him?
We are not professionals on here,so I think that may be the best thing to do.
There is a thing called auditory processing disorder, essentially it is when there is a delay in the interpretation of what is heard in the ear, by the brain.... Or the ear and brain are not working together essentially .it can be tested but is not a straight hearing test.
mrslaughan that's very interesting. I guess he needs to be older to have the test?
Thanks for all the replies. They have given me things to think about. There isn't anything obvious that really sticks out so I'm in a way not sure about going to the GP - yet anyhow. Some days I think there's something wrong and other days I just think it could be normal toddler behaviour. I don't have anything to compare so it's useful talking to other mums on here. So thanks all.
A lot of the points you have raised are a bit worrying tbh. It may be nothing, just his little ways, but so many of the traits you mention are associated with autism (and I note you mention Asperger syndrome yourself). The only difference between Asperger's and High Functioning Autism is the presence or not of speech delay.
Whether or not this turns out to be autism, I would still want to request an assessment to determine if he has issues that will require support to help him in his development. It's worrying that his social development seems to be affected. I would definitely be making an appointment with the GP to get a referral to developmental paediatrician.
Apologies for this OP, my DS has autism and I think I do tend to see it where it may not be. But so many of the points you raised...
more interested in things rather than people
His first words were to do with numbers and the alphabet - mummy came months and months later.
lost in his little world
doesn't tell us when he is hungry
he'd play with us and ignore the other children
never liked play group - tolerate being in same room with familiar child
... all add up to worth getting checked out imo.
My DD doesn't respond to her own name. She's 18mo. She also doesn't know the word Mama. She doesn't know it's me. Papa she recently clicked with. But the dog's name she's known absolutely from the age of 5-6 months.
I do worry about it. When she was 3-4 months we almost asked the doctor about her hearing because she wouldn't startle at unexpected loud noises. She still doesn't, actually. But she can follow instructions, ie 'put the ball in the box'. She just doesn't grasp the idea of names.
Is this normal?
OP, I totally agree with Stabby- get him seen by paed/ child development specialist. Some things you are mentioning do stand out as not quite typical, so better safe than sorry I guess.
paribus and stabby - thanks for posting. I can see where you are coming from with what little I know from reading up. However, what's throwing me is how much affection his brother gets and kisses we get. Are autistic children affectionate in this way?
moel from what people have told me - they should respond to their name by 18mos. We got referred for a hearing test for that reason. Hearing is not all or nothing - there may be levels/pitches that they can/cannot hear. They suggest ruling that out first as problem before looking at other issues.
Yes, OP, autistic children can be affectionate. Some enjoy cuddles as the pressure is pleasant to them, others dislike the pressure as they are more sensitive to being touched. They are all different and can present in different ways.
One of the things that worried me about DS in his early months was that he didn't respond to his name. He also was greatly interested in numbers/letters and found things, especially vehicles, much more interesting than people (although his first word was Bus, second Car).
It may be nothing. Or it may be a social communication disorder. The sooner you find out the better, as the earlier the intervention the more likely better progress. You're doing the right thing by speaking simply to him btw. The usual advice of "talk to them as much as possible" doesn't always apply.
DD's first word was 'bus' too. She's obsessed with emergency vehicles, buses, cars and helicopters. She's 18mo and still has no clue what her name is, nor mine (Mama) or her father's (Papa). She doesn't attempt anyone's name, not even the dog's, though she's known the dog's name since 7mo (ie she pointed at the dog whenever we asked her where she was).
Her words are:
Bus, car, ice, eyes (obsessed with eyes), bubbles, bobble (on her hat), apple, birdy, heiss (she's bilingual German), hiya & bye (very recently), booboos (boobs; still BF), leaves, tea and man.
We always introduce her to people very repetitively, ie we say 'oh look, it's Mary! Hiya Mary!' then repeat her name a lot to DD. She responds with hiya and a wave but never even attempts the name.
She loves smiling at people but is pretty independent. She enjoys a cuddle if tired or upset but would much rather stomp around with a toy car in each hand. Her favourite toy is a rocking horse and the swings in the park. She points at lots of things. Eats well. Sleeps atrociously.
Should I be worried?
I know it's been said a few times on this thread to go the GP and that you're not professionals - find out that way. I know you are all right with this. It's not as simple as that. I saw in my DS that he wasn't babbling and my DH and Mum both thought I was mad. Then by 15 mos he wasn't saying anything and they both still thought I was just being an over ambitious/pushy mother. I rang up the health visitor at 18mos but there was still surprise from my mum that the speech therapist didn't say I was wasting their time! I've mentioned to my DH that I'm worried about DS extreme shyness and he can't see anything wrong. He feels that DS is very young and simply doesn't know what is expected of him in social situations - that we need to teach him. Part of me agrees with that. He's only 29 mos. i think going to the doctors is a big thing and I guess I want to be more sure than i am before I do because it affects the relationship between DH and DS.
I'm really not sure tbh.
Two words at 2.5 months, isn't that delayed, and all the behaviour you have described could be pretty normal really, he just sounds a little shy to me. And selective hearing is pretty normal for toddlers too.
ds1 did exhibit some of the behaviours you have described, but he could blank people for HOURS, either getting on with his own thing, or simply staring into space. He was blanking people to the extent that he had to be checked for by an EEG for epilepsy. He was also tested for hearing impairment, and also blanked that because he didn't like the flashing clown one bit. I knew he could hear though.
With other children, they simply didn't exist for him, at 2.5 I had to watch him like a hawk because he would attempt to simply walk straight through them. He wouldn't register them aurally or visually. He couldn't tell us he was hungry verbally, but would take us to the fridge, or simply take food. I caught him eating frozen fishfingers once! He also didn't understand anger, or jealousy at that age. The eye contact thing, he avoided it when younger but around that age would try to stare intensely into my eyes and hold it inappropriately.
He wasn't affectionate, but he is now. Affection is pretty irrelevant with asd. my ds1 doesn't like to be held or touched, but there are plenty of children wiht asd who do like to be.
Having said that, although I don't think you should be too worried yet, if you do have concerns, you should go and get them checked out, to be on the safe side, and put your husband's feelings to one side. It takes such a long time on waiting lists to get any support, it is best to get in there as early as possible, for your son's sake.
oh and ds's first word was tram, at around 18 months!
He didn't first sing until he was 4. Suddenly sang twinkle twinkle out of nowhere at a checkout in sains and made me cry!
chops I'm not concerned at all about his speech anymore - it suddenly came in leaps and bounds. At 18 mos things were quite different but he has caught up completely.
I'm aware that I'm probably quicker to spot things (too quick?) whereas my DH is more cautious. I guess I'm trying not to jump in with this as well before things are clearer one way or another.
chops I'll read your message properly when I have a moment! Thanks for your posts.
Hi, op. I think youre asking all the right questions, and you sound like youre actually pretty on the case re things that are possibly 'not quite right'. I say possibly, they are all different, most children will just catch up.
But... I had almost identical concerns about ds2, to the extent of asking for areferral for a hearing test, and was fobbed off, and felt very guilty about being judgy and pushy about my perfect little boy... And he does have hfa, and the early intervention that we were abl eto access for him was really useful.
What do you mean when you say that it affects the relationship between dh and ds if you go to your doctor?
...simply doesn't know what is expected of him in social situations - that we need to teach him
Neuro-typical children learn social skills and appropriate language from the people around them, by watching and listening.
Imo if you have to teach them, there's something not right. Sorry. These skills are part of normal development. Sure, some children are slower. But taken with the other concerns you have mentioned, it isn't reassuring.
Don't feel shy about seeking referrals to specialists. If there is nothing to worry about, they will let you know and no harm will be done. But if there is something there, you need to be proactive to get the best support and help for your DS.
post they have a very strong relationship and DH is very proud of him. When I suggest something is wrong you can see him look at him in a different way - not on purpose - but in a way that breaks his heart I guess. Difficult to explain. DS accepts though that DS has extreme shyness that he needs help from us to overcome and also gets frustrates when he blanks us when we are clearly talking to him.
Thanking everyone very much for the advice so far on this thread. Very useful.
stabby I think you are right. This is the point I disagree with my DH.
Both DH and myself, whilst being social and having friends are both useless at social things in some way in that it causes us both stress. I'm terrible at talking to strangers (ie people I haven't known for years lol) and doing small talk - I clam up/panic completely but then I have lots of friends who I love talking with. My DH misreads people completely and is also famous for saying the complete wrong thing when meeting people for the first time. But he is very good at talking with people and finding things to say (his mind doesn't go blank like mine). So I guess the unsaid bit is that we've coped in life and done ok, our DS will do the same. Also, I guess maybe its scarey if there is anything wrong with DS then there's the possibility theres something wrong with us too!
chops the blanking thing is not for hours as it was for you. It is more that we will be taking to him, saying his name and he just looks at the floor rather than us. From what other posters say, this sounds like typical toddler behaviour. It's perhaps the other things that I should be more concerned about maybe.
My DD has quite severe autism and is the most affectionate child you could ever meet, she often squashes me by climbing on me to kiss and cuddle me.
moel I don't know if the fact she wants cuddles and is affectionate seems at odds with the rest of her behaviour and stopping you going to your GP? It is interesting that you mention she is still bf. My son is also BF too. One article I read in favour of extended BF was about a mother of an autistic child who claimed it was BF that helped her son show affection when the mother hadnt witnessed it in other autistic children. I don't know if there's any truth in this though.
Ok there seems to be consensus that displays of affection to parents is not a factor. This is something new I've learnt. Thank you.
Im not sure how much importance is given to eye contact either. My DS didn't give me much eye contact in the first year. Those parent books that said that babies lovingly gaze in your eyes whilst feeding used to wind me up. My second boy looks at me, laughs and smiles - interacts with me in a way that DS1 didn't .
I'm just not sure what to think, really. We don't know anyone with kids nearby so she's an isolated case for us. We just assumed she was normal. It's only because a relative flagged up her behaviour as being a tad weird this week that I'm thinking about things more.
The relative took DD out for day and said it was odd that she couldn't attract her attention. DD just wandered around very happily looking at things (and pointing at them, I should add). But the relative couldn't show her anything and couldn't get her to turn around or change direction. She had to run after her and pick her up to move her. This is the same with us but I just thought it was standard... Is it? The relative has a large number of small children in her circle (inc one of her own) and said she didn't know any like DD.
She likes cuddles but is more into 'booboos'. She climbs all over me in the morning wanting BF and will suck for an hour if allowed (she isn't!). She never did the staring lovingly into my eyes while being fed thing either. She actually scratches and pinches me. She likes to squeeze the skin on my tummy and boobs very very hard when feeding - she's always done this. Sometimes I look like I've gone 5 rounds with an annoyed cat.
But she laughs, waves, points...
Just no idea really. I really don't mind what she is or isn't - she's our DD and is wonderful. But if she has hearing issues or sensory / social issues, I think it's important to find help for her so she can get the most out of life.
I guess I'm using this thread to find out what is regarded as 'normal' and what isn't. For the record, I tried the M-CHAT thing last night and she scored 11 which apparently means she has some red flags for autism.
Elizabeth22, I am sensing that you have a huge reluctance to see a GP about this.
What I am thinking, now that there are budget cuts all over the place, that with medical things, it can be better to access medical care sooner rather than later.
Even if your GP decided to refer you, it may take several months before your child is seen by a specialist.
By which time, you child is that much older again.
And if he does need specialist help, it is best to get it sooner rather than later, as education starts to become a factor.
Hi moel i understand completely how it is difficult knowing what's normal and what's not - if you've got nothing to compare to. This thread has been very useful in that regard. I think it can take an outsider to point things out to get them investigated. In our case, a helper at a play group we attended every week in my DS first year and half was the one who pointed out that he should know his name/look up when he heard it. I then spoke to my health visitor who got me a hearing test and speech therapy appointments sorted.
It is very hard to take the first step of admitting to yourself that there might be a problem. I don't blame your DH for being wobbly about it. He is your BABY. It is very difficult.
The thing is, your child is just your child, the way he is - particularly when you don't have a lot of peers available to compare your child with. I was fooled into thinking that my DS couldn't be autistic, because he did make eye contact, he wasn't aloof, he was affectionate, he didn't line things up, he didn't insist on routine and positively enjoyed change.
What I didn't realise then was that his affection was mainly centred around his immediate family, his eye contact was limited to family, he was actually fairly aloof (or shy) with people he didn't know. The other things: they don't occur in all autistic people either. Some of them, yes, but it's not actually diagnostic criteria. A lot of the other traits I just missed, because they were just the way DS was. It's easy to miss things through being too close, which is when other people's pointing things out to you are helpful.
The blanking is often due to information overload. Children with speech delay often have problems processing auditory information and generally need extra time to do this before they can respond. It helps to wait for their response and not to repeat the question phrased differently - it's hard not to do this as it's tempting to simplify the question, but it just means the process has to start afresh which takes even longer. It is infuriating if you think you're being ignored though, oh yes...
If a toddler gradually starts to acknowledge their name AFTER 18mo, does that mean it's all okay, or is that initial delay significant? Do autistic kids get their name eventually? Assuming they must do...
Just been asking folk about when their babies recognised their names and the average seems to be 6 months... some said 4 months :-(
Making me feel a bit silly for not having realised babies were supposed to do this so early. It's not on any of the child development stuff I got sent - it's all about walking and weaning. I guess the name thing is regarded as so obvious that it's not worth mentioning?
I asked DD's keyworker at nursery today if they noticed anything odd and they said they found it hard getting her attention. That she was usually pottering around on her own doing things. But they said it was normal for an 18mo not to know her name...??? Everything I've read says it really isn't.
i would say it's fairly unusual for a child over 12 month to not turn to name but you need to look at the wider developmental picture - also as said above any child may ignore name from time to time, it's when it's pervasive meaning all the time, that it may indicate a problem. It's hardly scientific but ds1 did not turn to name until well over 2 ( he is autistic) whereas ds2 turned to name regularly after 6 months or so
You are right - There is a big gap in the information given out about the developmental of communication in young children compared to all the stuff about how to mix up up baby rice or how/when you should start solids - it may be that it is still a taboo subject or it may be a fear of worrying too many people when it may not be necessary - though I think this is a weak excuse and it's more likely a fear of parents expecting help and therapy for the minority who need it !
moel do you know what you're going to do? It could be nothing or something - I don't think anyone on here could tell you one way or another. You sound quite concerned so maybe talking to your health visitor or GP might be reassuring. I'm not sure whether I'd pay that much attention to nursery workers - but that's just me. I think they are quite pleased to have kids that are easy to look after and occupy themselves. A hearing test at the very least might be helpful and is usually the first step and straightforward enough. Don't panic and hope you're ok.
Well, I've got a referral for Yorkhill to test her hearing. As that's the easy fix.
She persistently ignores her name. As in, I can count on one hand the number of times she's ever responded. Walks in the park involve her wandering slowly away in the opposite direction and not reacting at all to her name being called. She doesn't do the cheeky running away-aren't I naughty thing, she just doesn't react at all. Just carries on wandering away slowly.
She spent last night either spinning in circles and laughing or rocking madly on her rocking ladybird and laughing, with the odd bit of chucking blocks around the room. We were just spectators. Earlier, we were cooking food in the kitchen for 30 mins or so and we went into the living room and she was sitting happily with my open wallet, picking up coins and throwing them repeatedly. I think she'd been doing this for the whole time - either way, she was happily alone for the 30 mins. Didn't feel the need for company.
She spins a LOT. Any opportunity, really. Especially in new places (last week we were in a spooky old castle and she just stood and spun in the Great Hall. Though also went plodding happily into very dark dungeons as well. She also sometimes holds her arm out behind her in a stiff, awkward position and tips her head to one side.
But she's so great in social situations, loves new people and new places, never really had separation anxiety (only at nursery - she's only been for 3 afternoons). Strangers always comment on how engaged she is with them.
What do I do though? I'm actually working with the Scottish Autism people at the moment, as well as having links with the autism unit at a local school (we'e having one of their pupils on work experience next month). Would it be bad form to ask advice? Seeing as I'm involved in a professional capacity.
I've been doing a lot of autism research recently to prepare for working with autistic kids on their body language skills and it was watching toddler behaviours on Youtube that suddenly made me think 'DD does that'...
Don't want to sound like a weird mother though. I love DD to bits and we do have several relatives and friends on the spectrum so it doesn't frighten me particularly. I just want to make sure she gets what she needs.
Have I hijacked this thread? So sorry :-(
Some of the things you say remind me of ds1 but you really need to get an assessment done by someone who sees dd in person rather than online. Yorkhill also runs an autism diagnosis service but getting referred there can be a problem as autism is usually diagnosed quite late in Scotland even where it is totally obvious that there are big problems ( I am talking about ds1 here ! ) It is more common to have a long drawn out affair which would aim to have children diagnosed just before school age - also in my personal experience, the assessments we had done did not in themselves lead to any direct help. This may be because there is not usually any early intervention available anyway. I can however think of a charity in Scotland that offers (imo excellent) early intervention therapy for children who may be autistic - this gets you round the problem of the difficulties in geting a diagnosis. I'll get the web site address for you. Sorry if some of what I say sounds negative but I think you are doing the right thing and help now is what is needed and you don't need a diagnosis to get help.
I really could not recommend this charity highly enough - as i say if your dd is just a late developer, the work they do will help her catch up
Just to update you on my DD. She's been diagnosed with severe glue ear in both ears so she's deaf to most frequencies except the lower ones. But interestingly she can lip read simple questions (ie 'where are your eyes?'), which is probably why people didn't take us seriously with the deafness.
Hoping she'll be fitted with grommets soon.
Thanking you all for your input!
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