When asked my 4 year old either does not respond to the question or responds slowly and I've seen 3 year olds respond much more quickly.

Is this a development concern or is something in the "normal" range of behaviour for a child in that age group. E.g. It needs to be worked on but not a major concern?

One Example conversations when chosing breakfast

Parent: do you want cereal or toast for breakfast

No response...

Parent: do you want cereal or toast for breakfast

Parent: Christopher respond what do you want for breakfast

Child: toast

Name taken from: fake name generator

  • This sounds well within the normal range to me, but if you are concerned, list specifics and see your child's doctor. It could be that s/he is smart and wants to think it over before answering. As you are getting answers, I would not be concerned about any serious delay -- but again this is a message board -- ask a professional if you are really concerned. You could teach a game that requires speed like 'Snap'. LINK to how to play Snap
    – WRX
    Mar 21 '17 at 21:44
  • This does sound okay to me but we would need more information to be able to give actual answers. What kind of questions are you asking? If you're saying "what do you want to do today?" then that's a lot of things for a four year old to think about. If you're asking "do you want to go to the park or stay home and paint?" then that's only 2 options and a 4 year old should be able to make a quick decision.
    – Stephen
    Mar 22 '17 at 8:22
  • Based on your edit. "C -- toast or cereal?" (No answer.) "Okay I am making toast." If he wants cereal, then he might decide to answer more quickly. This is a good test of ability and one that the results may interest your doctor. "Cookie or fruit?" (No response) -- "Fruit it is." Not a punishment, but is does encourage speech!
    – WRX
    Mar 23 '17 at 21:58

The only answer I can give is based on my experience. There are a lot of variables to consider that aren't mentioned here. That being said, if you are at all concerned you should talk to your child's doctor.

Of 7 children we have 1 with mild autism and 2 with auditory processing disorder. I am in no way suggesting that your child has either one of these conditions (or any condition for that matter). I am simply illustrating that there are a lot of different possibilities beyond 'Is this normal?'

In the case of the autistic child we thought he had hearing loss, but he didn't. In the case the boy and girl with auditory processing disorder we learned (rather late in their education) that they could hear just fine. Our daughter in particular would (and still does) have delayed responses. Often she stammers or has to start all over with her answers. What distracts them in the room wouldn't distract most of us but for them it does.

Normal ranges don't exist as our children do not live in a vacuum. Each child has different strengths and weaknesses. Some children have learning disabilities but use their strengths to mask them.

You will have to pay close attention to what is happening every time you are talking with you child and their reaction is delayed. Do they look confused, is there noise in the room, is a device on and in their field of vision, are your questions multi-tiered (they have to understand the first part of a question before they can answer all of the question. etc?

Our daughter for years was unable to follow directions if they had more than 2 steps. Broken down and spoon-fed she can complete tasks. We had insisted for years they be tested at school and it wasn't until we moved to a new district that they were tested (and had follow up tests).

Only a present parent that knows their child can tell what is normal. If you have any reservations talk to your doctor and follow up often, as in my experience they don't always listen but our 'gut feeling' that something was wrong has always been correct.

My only regret for my children is that we didn't insist more and get help for them sooner.

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