The normal auditory processing disorder screening questions are a little vague. Thus, I have included a list of my sons’ symptoms just to be more specific.
- Inability to answer yes/no questions (i.e. repeats the question back to you)
- Consistently taking the questioner’s role (i.e. say’s “how you doing?” when he sees you but doesn’t answer “good” if you ask him the question; says, “what should we eat today?” when you go to the kitchen for lunch, but can’t answer “cookies!” when you ask him yourself)
- Consistently calls people by their own name (my son said, “Hi Sam!” whenever he saw anyone)
- Persistent echolalia of others and of self; doesn’t seem to notice that another person answered their questions
- Does not refer to self or continues to call self by his own name (doesn’t use I, me, you, etc.
- Inability to answer/show you things like, “where’s the refrigerator?” or “which one [fork, shovel] do you eat with?”
- Doesn’t use pointing, leading you, to get you to get what he wants
- Doesn’t proactively ask for things (i.e. continues to play with stuff after he’s totally bored with it; can only cry when he needs something or something is wrong)
- Has a confused look on his face or stares right through you (to “lah-lah land”) when you are talking to him/explaining things
- Doesn’t seem to be incorporating information you’ve told him or explained to him—doesn’t behave any differently, seems afraid of the same things even w/explanation, or you don’t hear new vocabulary you’ve used work its way into theirs
- Stories or imaginative games don’t work with him; he doesn’t understand the directions or doesn’t have enough vocabulary to answer comprehension questions
- Describes things—labeling what they see, hear, or what you’re doing—as most of his talking (“Red,” “Doggy,” “Read”); the labelling is usually not solicited; a preschooler might expand to “It’s red,” “I hear a doggy,” “You reading, Mom.” but never get beyond the labelling.
- Vocab is mostly nouns and adjectives. Verbs and adverbs difficult, no prepositions, no changing verb tense, no helping or “filler words”
- Doesn’t seem to notice when you’re talking to him (“I was thinking we’d go to the park today!”) unless you use his name first (“Johnny, I was thinking…”)
- Doesn’t seem to notice group directions (i.e. in a class or group–“Let’s all go to the rug!”)
- delayed pretend/imagination skills
- inability to make toys “talk” to one another, or do something with a little plot/purpose
Get someone to evaluate your toddler if he or she has these problems between the ages of 2 and 3! Maybe everything is fine, but possibly he or she is behind in receptive or expressive language. See if you can tell whether the bigger problem is understanding what you say (receptive) or responding to/articulating a response (expressive).
In my experience, receptive is the more dangerous of the two to be behind on. A child who has trouble expressing their needs (but can understand what is being said) often catches up with simply more exposure to language or you “putting words in their mouth” when you want a response. Sometimes expressive language leads to stammering or tantrums because the child’s brain is going faster than their ability to get the words out. But overall, this is a better situation to be in because you can still teach your child stuff as if they don’t have a problem.
The more dangerous thing is if your child is behind in receptive skills because your teaching is basically useless. He can’t understand you. And more exposure to language (reading, videos, etc.) is often pointless. Not that you should stop doing it–because those things are bonding and fun times for the child, regardless. But they aren’t going to get better at understanding language from verbal input alone. Nor are they able to put gestures along with your questions to help themselves be understood (i.e. “Point to which one you want” or “Shake your head if you don’t want this.”) They can get very behind on cognitive or social skills because they don’t understand explanations (i.e. like why you go to the doctor, or how to wait in line at the slide, when Mommy will be back and what she’s doing, etc.)
If your child has receptive problems, you need to immediately move to other forms of supplemental communication like gestures and visual cues paired with your words so they can understand what you’re saying. I’ll post more about this later. Often you have to show your child what you mean, or act alongside your words so they get a real “feel” for what you’re saying. Toilet training can be very hard. Basically your un-receptive child is going to have to experience stuff first-hand and put it together in their own little mind all by themselves… so be prepared to be busier and teach them visually or kinesthetically as much as possible until their language catches up. We still have to do this with our four year old, and it can be exhausting!