25 answers

Son Doesn't Respond to His Name

I have a 10.5 month old son that most of time doesn't respond when his name is called. I have shrugged it off as being nothing since he is doing well in all other developmental areas. He's crawling and can walk while holding onto something, babbles (says da da and ma ma but doesn't know meaning yet), laughs a lot, makes good eye contact, claps his hands to happy and you know it... I know his hearing is fine (he wakes to slightest noise). So I was thinking he's just so into playing and is just so used to our voice that he is just ignoring us when we say his name. Well, over xmas at my family's house he didn't respond when his name was called most of time. Also, yesterday when I went to pick him up from daycare his back was facing me so I called his name 3 times and he never turned around. So decided to google this and it says it's a symptom of autism. But he is doing fine in all other areas... Just wondering if anybody else child didn't recognize name till late. It is really worrying my husband and I.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks everyone for your responses!! Since we were worried we took our son to his pediatrician on Friday. The pediatrician went through a check list of everything my son should be doing at this age and he passed! She rung a pretty loud bell on each side of my son and he turned his head both times. She recommended a ENT that I could take him to so I'm going to do that just to rule that out. I also called Early Intervention and they did screening over the phone (asked a bunch of questions). He passed every category. They also recommended taking him to ENT and said that if he doesn't respond to his name by 12 months then I should be worried. So my husband and I are calling his name like a hundred times a day now. We will also do the 12 month screening with Early Invervention so hopefully we will be reassured everything is okay!

Featured Answers

I wouldn't worry too much. I had the same concern at around 11 months with my daughter and I too scared myself by researching autism. However at 13 months she is now a lot more responsive to her name. It's just one of those 'every child is different' developmental things.

My daughter is 9 months and half the time she won't respond to her name either. If you are worried, talk to the doc about it but for the most part, I wouldn't worry about it at this point.

More Answers

Not to minimize your worries, but have you given thought to how often you've actually used his name when talking to him? It could be that his name isn't a word he recognizes because you don't use it as often as a nickname or pet name. My husband and I often laugh that our 5 month old daughter will think her name is "Boo" because we rarely use her name when talking to her. We've had to make a conscious effort to use her real name when talking to her. I also have a niece who thinks her middle name is Lou, because we always call her "Lyndsay Lou" even though her middle name is Elizabeth. Just a thought - if you're truly worried, though, talk to your doctor. Good luck! :-)

I think I actually posted the same request when my son was that age! If it's truly concerning you, I would talk to the pediatrician or an early intervention person, just in case. But honestly, don't worry yourself. If he's doing fine in all other areas, I'd bet it's just selective hearing - he's so used to hearing his name that he's decided to ignore you. From what you said, it seems like he's connecting with people (laughing, smiling, clapping) and a big part of autism is the child's inability to connect with others or process their environment. If he's interacting well, he's probably just doing to you what my son did to me. He's got so many cool things to see, touch, experience, etc., that responding to mommy every time she calls is just not high on the priority list. If you start seeing other indicators, then I'd definitely talk to his pediatrician. Otherwise, I think this is just normal behavior at that age. :-) Good luck!

Sounds just like my son! He is 13 months now, but when he was your son's age, I also became a little worried, despite his development being on track in other areas. Then it seemed out of the blue, around his first birthday, that he finally started responding to his name.
No worries!
To help him learn his own name and mama, I would pat him and say his name, then pat myself and say mama, and that seemed to help too.
Good luck!

You have so many answers I couldn't read them all... so I hope I'm not repeating anyone. My son has the same problem at 17 months. He just had a perfect hearing test. His evaluation by Early Intervention, however, showed that he is hyper focused. If he's focused on something you can shout his name, clap, wave your hands in front of his face, etc. and he will not shift his focus to you. I would recommend getting an Early Intervention evaluation done.

Here's the info... Help Me Grow/Future for Kids helpline
1-800-323 4769. Good luck hon! :) (the evaluation is free by the way)

I wouldn't worry, especially since he's hitting all other milestones. Truthfully, he may be using "selective hearing". If you call him by a variety of other names "honey, sweetie", etc. he simply may not be tuned in for just his proper name. Christmas is overwhelming; he was probably busy in his own little world.

I wouldn't worry too much. I had the same concern at around 11 months with my daughter and I too scared myself by researching autism. However at 13 months she is now a lot more responsive to her name. It's just one of those 'every child is different' developmental things.

I wouldn't worry too much. My daughter is almost 2 and sometimes still won't respond to her name if she is involved in something she likes. I'd talk to your pediatrician if you are really worried. I used to chalk it up to her trying to be independent. As for the autism factor, I think it's too early to tell, but again you know your child better and that is another question for your doctor.

Best of luck and let us know what happens.

Don't worry. He is still very young. He is on track with everything else, he is fine. While autism is a spectrum disorder, his cognitive abilities otherwise are in tact. Hang in there and try not to read too much into things. Congrats on your baby. Enjoy him while he is still small. They grow up too quick!

What do the daycare people say? Does he answer them? I have had a hearing problem since I was about six I think. I jump not at the noises, but at vibrations from the noises. I don't necessarily hear the sounds.To this day I am an extremely light sleeper. Sounds in one ear come to me as a sort of an echo. See if you are on one side when you are saying his name. I am not saying your son is hard of hearing, but you might rule it out first before you decide he is autistic. He also could be very involved with things like you said and not respond. Contact your board of Health or look up State websites for issues addressing both of those things. Try not to worry. I know I do anyway about my children no matter what. You are great parents and it is nice to see you alert and concerned about your baby.

I think he is still really young. If he responds to your interactions with him in a typical way it may just be the name thing. I have two children and honestly don't remember name recognition because I don't think I was focused on it. It was more communication, interaction, eye contact. Turning around when they hear your voice (if they are not engaged in something). It is GREAT for kids to be able to focus so much on play that they tune out the world around them. In this day of fast paced, high stimuli, being able to focus is a very necessary skill to develope. But again...your child is very young. I would not be afraid if you feel all other areas are typical. My son did not speak until 2 1/2 yrs old. We did signing instead and I know in my heart that he was fine...he is, talks up a storm and did so when the first words came out in sentences rather than ball,dog..etc. Keep working on it and try doing role play with your husband. Say, "Daddy!" and have your husband respond in the way you would like your child to and then have him call you, "Mommy!" It is hard when each baby is so different.

I am sure its fine but talk to your ped about it and ask for an order for an OT?PT evaluation. Also,- has your ped given you a questionare called the M-CHat?? This helps point out children that need the referral for OT/PT Alhough, it may be done at the one year visit. I am unsure.

I like the post below about googling hair twirling and finding that it is a trait of autism. Seriously you can google so many habits or tendencies about babies and toddlers and find that same response. It's maddening to a first-time mother.

Just relax though, it's always been described to me as knowing from very early on that something is off with your child, and that when the autism diagnosis is made, it's like the light comes on to what has been off the whole time. The biggest early sign is that there is no joint reciprocity, or the baby does not connect with others around him. None or very minimal eye contact, later no playing games, anything requiring focused interaction - literally they are in their own world. This is not so much the case I believe with Asbergers syndrome, but your baby sounds perfectly normal, just either possibly is having trouble hearing voices, or is starting to ignore you at a very early age. :) Check out the ears for sure, and relax about the rest. Your baby is fine.


Just so you know, I recently googled hair twirling, and the 1st 5 finds were about autism. But like your son, she is lovable, makes eye contact, and my pediatrician agrees she has no autism. I know he responds, but he might still have a hearing problem, ask your pediatrician.
Also, just so you know, because I noticed someone said it was free, Early Intervtion has a family fee involved. It just depends on the family's income. My daughter qualifies for OT because of a hand problem.

Hi -

Get him checked out by Child and Family Connections. Joliet has an office. It is run under the IL Dept. of Human Services. Evals are free and it will give you peace of mind one way or another. If it is autism; it may not be so bad. I know because I have 3 on the spectrum. Good Eye contact is awesome because it means he can learn; it just may take a little longer. The earlier autism is diagnosed the better; trust me I know its true. Good Luck to you and take care of yourself.


My daughter is 9 months and half the time she won't respond to her name either. If you are worried, talk to the doc about it but for the most part, I wouldn't worry about it at this point.

You might want to call Early Intervention for a free evaluation. I called them when my son was 14 months old, because he was not talking or walking. He qualified for speech and physical therapy services and is doing awesome at 20 months!!

You should have his hearing checked.

do you use nicknames for him at all? we have called my son "peanut" since day one and now he'll respond to "peanut" but only occasionally to his "real" name. talk to your ped. about it but if your son is hitting the other milestones I would think he is fine, just isn't interested in looking away from what he's doing!

My son is also 10.5 months old ( he will be one on November 17th) he does not often respond to his name either - he does not crawl or wave either - all of which has me woried too - this may not be an answer but so you know there are others with the same concerns. We should compare notes

hi it is probably nothing as many kids get really engrossed in playing but, just to be sure i would definitely ask to have his hearing checked and mention your worry to your pediatrician. if there is any problem early intervention is the best thing you can do for your child. so dont ignore it. good luck!

He is not autistic. He responds to songs, claps in time with them, laughs and interacts. BUT I bet he is having a slight hearing loss. Take him to an ENT for a full hearing test. He may not hear all spectrums of sound or he may not be able to process multiple sounds at the same time. Even deaf children babble, btw.

If the hearing test says he has full hearing, then ask for an early intervention evaluation by calling your local child care resource and referral agency.

And to those that said not to worry, you MUST worry about his hearing NOW. The longer it goes the longer any delays will be. So, at the very least have that evaluated. He DOES have signs of lack of hearing.

I work with children for a living, and we are trained to look for things like this, so I know what I am advising you is exactly what I would tell you to do if you were one of my daycare families.

I would say if he's reached all his other milestones there is nothing to worry about. My son is 15 months and is really active. When he is really into his playing he too will not respond to his name. Even when he was around your son's age, I too had my worries because he didn't really respond to his name either, and sometimes not even make eye contact, even when spoken to up close. I started googling "autism" and asking friends. After awhile, I just stopped worrying and just let him be himself. The internet is so generalized, that it may even put more worries on you. What I started doing is saying "look, look" and that would catch his attention and distrat him from what he was doing. Now that he's over a year, he's talking, walking, almost running, and people have even said he seems advanced for his age. So, don't worry, your son seems to be very smart and I think he'll eventually start responding to his name. Just play with him, and enjoy him, because they grow up so fast:)

It doesn't hurt to call Early Intervention. It is free to have him evaluated, and services are free. If he doesn't need services then you have the peace of mind that everything is fine. We had a wonderful experience with them.

Has he had his hearing tested or frequent ear infections? All you need to do it take him to the pedatrician and or call Early intervention and have him evaluated. They do this for a living so you do not need to figure it out on your own. Where do you live depends on what Ei place you call it is by county. Your pedatrician should ahve the number for you. Good luck

I am a special ed. teacher and even though you say his hearing is fine, I would still consider getting it checked. There is more to hearing deficts than waking to the slightest noise. There could be inner ear problems or those that distinguish specific sounds. I wouldn't jump to autisum yet either, but as another poster mentioned earily intervention is the key no matter how slight the issue may be.
Hope that helps.

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