Valerie Dejean
writes on Vestibular Dysfunction



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The Listening Checklist

(Adapted from When Listening Comes Alive, Paul Madaule, Moulin Publishing, 1994) Listening problems are often a key component in many developmental and behavioral difficulties. Yet, listening and hearing are not the same; many individuals with listening difficulties have normal (or above average) hearing. Since listening cannot be seen or tested easily, we've devised a checklist as a guide to help you determine if perhaps poor listening ability is an issue for your child.

Check all that apply to your child. Note that many children have some of the tendencies listed below. It is important to view your responses cumulatively to determine if your child may be struggling with a listening problem. There is no "score" on this checklist; however, if you check a number of items as applicable to your child, you may wish to call the Spectrum Communication Center to discuss your responses or to schedule an initial assessment. Check all that apply to your child:

Receptive Language (Listening)

As a young or preverbal child:

  • Does not consistently respond to name
  • Does not readily make eye contact
  • Short attention span
  • Tends to become totally absorbed in an activity resulting in detachment from others
  • Seems "in own world"
  • Reacts strongly to loud environments
  • Seems oblivious to loud or startling sounds

As an older or verbal child:

  • Short attention span
  • Easily distracted, especially by peripheral noises or activities
  • Oversensitive to certain sounds
  • Misinterprets questions or requests
  • Weak auditory discrimination: confuses similar sounding words or consonants
  • Says "what" or asks others to repeat their statements often
  • Cannot follow complex instructions or instructions with more than one or two steps
  • Reacts strongly to sounds or music that s/he does not want to hear

Expressive Language (Speaking)

As a young or preverbal child:

  • Lacks "purposeful" play (manipulates toys but does not pretend or imitate more complex play)
  • Does not attempt to imitate sounds or actions of others
  • Does not point
  • Does not babble
  • Does not attempt to say words
  • Does not wave bye-bye
  • Does not attempt to communicate wants

As an older or verbal child:

  • Verbalizations are largely "echolallic" (verbatim repetitions of phrases, primarily learned
  • from videos or recordings)
  • Tends not to use words to communicate wants
  • Voice quality is flat or monotone
  • Speak hesitantly, lacking flow or rhythm
  • Sings out of tune
  • Sentence structure is poor or stereotyped
  • Vocabulary is weak
  • Confuses or reverses letters
  • Cannot read
  • Reading is difficult, especially reading out loud
  • Spelling is poor
  • Dyslexic

Tactile Issues

  • Avoids getting messy: wants hands washed immediately after messy activity
  • Reacts strongly to hygiene activities such as brushing teeth, washing or cutting hair, clipping nails
  • Overly distressed by certain fabrics or damp clothing (a shirt that gets a water spot on it
  • must be changed)
  • Strongly resists wearing shoes
  • Seems oblivious to hot or cold
  • Does not cry when injured
  • Strongly resists treatment of an injury (the band-aid is worse than the injury)
  • Very picky eater: avoids certain textures or temperatures of foods
  • Gags on food

Motor Skills

As a young child:

  • Constantly in motion
  • Lacks coordination
  • Low muscle tone (prefers to flop on the floor, avoids sitting up straight)
  • Overly cautious
  • Overly reckless
  • DoesnÂ�t clap hands
  • Has difficulty using utensils
  • Does not attempt to use utensils

As an older child:

  • Lack of hand preference
  • Confuses left and right
  • Does not tend to cross the midline of the body (reaches with right hand for objects on the right and left hand for objects on the left)
  • Poor posture; frequent slouching or slumping
  • Uncoordinated
  • Fidgety, canÂ�t sit still
  • Poor sense of rhythm
  • Craves intense motion such as spinning
  • Messy handwriting
  • Cannot get organized
  • Resists structure

Social Behaviors

As a young child:

  • Avoids other children
  • Is oblivious to other children
  • Tends to avoid groups, preferring to play alone

As an older child:

  • Frustrates easily (reactions are extreme)
  • Poor self-image, low self-esteem
  • Does not make friends easily
  • Does not join in group activities
  • Tends to withdraw or avoid most social settings
  • Frequently irritable
  • Inordinately tired at the end of the school day
  • Low motivation; uninterested in school or other activities
  • Immature for age (seems to lack desire to grow up)

Developmental History

  • Stressful pregnancy
  • Excessive interventions during pregnancy and/or birth
  • Difficult birth
  • Premature birth
  • Cesarean birth
  • Early separation from mother
  • Excessive medical interventions as a newborn or infant
  • Early emotional trauma (loss of caregiver, etc.)
  • Adopted as an infant
  • Adopted as a toddler or older child
  • Delay in motor development
  • Delay in language development
  • Recurring ear infections
  • Excessive antibiotic use
  • Negative reactions to vaccinations

Copyright 2010


Copyright Valerie M. Dejean 2010

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