Listening and understanding what you hear is a major component to communicating with the world around you. Of course many children have “selective deafness” but some children may have difficulty listening to and understanding others for other reasons such as hearing loss (permanent or temporary), a limited attention span or a language disorder. In a classroom these children are often labelled as “naughty” for not completing the task that they were assigned, vague (“off with the fairies”) or they may watch and follow what the other children do in order to complete a set task.
At home you may notice that they are more capable of following instructions when they are a part of an everyday routine (“put your hat on to go outside”), instructions are broken down into smaller simpler steps, or the instructions are given with visual cues (such as pointing to or holding a relevant object).
If you have concerns about your child’s ability to hear and understand what is being said consider seeing an audiologist or speech pathologist to investigate the cause.