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Central Auditory Neglect
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Central Auditory Neglect

My son is 11 months old and has a hearing issue. He was born at 31 weeks gestation with the cord around his neck 6 times. He has been in developmental therapy since 2 months of age and then started occupational therapy when he was 7 months old. When he was 4 months old, his opthamologist thought he had cortical visual impairment because he was not tracking and refered us to a neurologist. The neurologist told us that his eyes were fine (he started tracking before the appointment) and said the problem was that Ashtyn was not hearing adequatly. So, he scheduled an MRI, and EEG, a BAER, and all kinds of blood/genetic tests. Everything came back normal except the MRI which showed slight damage in the area of the brain that causes a person to visually neglect things. SO....his neurologist disagreed with the BAER that said his hearing was normal and refered us to the University of Michigan. They saw him and said there is clearly a hearing issue. Well, we have another BAER scheduled at the end of this month and we are hoping it tells us something. We know there is a hearing problem because sometimes I can say ashtyns name and he will look right at me, and other times I can yell, scream, bang things together, slam doors, and make very LOUD noise and he doesnt show a bit of response, it is like he is in his own world. So finally the neurologist decided it is central auditory neglect where you can't localize sounds and therefore you ignore them...which sounds like EXACTLY what ashtyn does. If he is looking at something, there is no sound in the world that will get his attention. Here is my problem though....I have NO way to communicate "hot" or "no" or things that an 11 month old should start learning. He completely ignores my commands and I have NO idea what to do! I want to get him into Oral Deaf Education but I live in a small town in Michigan. What can I do to help a child with auditory neglect function and understand???
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521840_tn?1348844371
Hello,  
   what a frustrating situation! The first thing that comes to mind is that when you obtain the results of the second BAER test, I recommend you take all of your reports and records to a developmental pediatrician or pediatric neuropsycholgist for a consultation. Your pediatrician should be able to make a referral for you. You need a professional who can look at all these data objectively and decide which issues are having the most significant impact and how to address them. When you meet with this professional, ask about early childhood intervention services in your area. Find out which services would be most beneficial and obtain a written recommendation for how often (how many hours a week) your child will need to obtain benefit. He/she may refer you to a developmental evaluation team who can perform an assessment that will determine his therapy needs.

With respect to addressing how to communicate with and teach your child, you still have options. A speech language pathologist (SLP) will have expertise in communicating with children beyond using words. The SLP can assist you in learning simple signs and other ways of communicating with your child. The SLP can also perform tests to learn about his receptive and expressive language functioning (even children who do not speak yet can be assessed to some degree with the correct instruments). You will want professionals to follow his language development very closely, and to provide adequate therapy as needed.

Best wishes
Rebecca Resnik
3 Comments
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193609_tn?1292183893
Thank you for your response. Ashtyn is in early intervention in Michigan called Early On. They have been providing therapy weekly for months. However, since they first thought he was blind and then the doctor said it was hearing, they appear to be "blowing it off" and just wanting to give it time. However, we have given it over 6 months and nothing has changed!!! I will take him to the doctor that you recommended becasue at this point, we are grasping at straws and anyone's opinion will help!
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325405_tn?1262293778
Just wanted to say my daughter learned sign language at an early age.  Kids can start as early as 11 or 12 months (there is a huge baby sign language movement, even for kids who have normal hearing and no learning delays).  It takes a bit to learn the first few signs if you start early.  I actually started using baby sign language with my daughter at 12 months, not realizing that she would have language delays and  auditory processing problems later on (related to PDD). I'm very glad I started teaching her sign language earlier on because it helped out.  The first 3 words kids like to learn are "milk, more, and eat" generally.  They are easy to sign.  You can teach your kids no and stop as well.  No is harder to sign, but as long as they understand what you are saying/signing to them, that is what is important with no.   Stop is another good one.  There are lots of books out there, videos, etc.  You can probably find something at your local library or in a child consignment shop or even on the internet.  Just to warn you, the first few signs will take a couple months for your child to learn and get the hang of, since he is so young.  You just have to keep being persistent and make things fun and like a game.  More is a good game sign to use.  Play a game with a toy he likes and then stop.  Ask him if he wants more, do the sign for more, and you can even help him make the sign with his hands and then play more with the toy.  Once kids get the hang of the sign for more, sometimes they can feel empowered with language.  Ditto with the other signs.  More is just one of the easier ones to teach.
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This Forum's Experts
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Tali Shenfield, PhDBlank
Richmond Hill Psychology Center
Richmond Hill, ON,
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Rebecca Resnik, PsyDBlank
MindWell Clinical Psychology
Bethesda, MD
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