What the beep?!

(Photo credit: http://www.powerpath.com/images/products/lg_jaaudioscreening.jpg)

For his 4 year check-up, Turtle did his first auditory screening. The nurse told him to put on the headphones and raise his hand every time he heard a "beep". Facing him away from her, she began the test, pushing buttons to ring different tones in his headphones at random intervals. We sat nervously watching her push the buttons and watching him not respond at all.


She took the headphones off of him and tested them on herself to make sure they were working and then gave us a quizzical look as they were working just fine.

I thought for a moment, then turned to Turtle and said "She wants you to raise your hand any time that you hear anything at all. Not just beeps."

The test resumed and he raised his hand for every tone she sounded. Whew.

That's our boy- taking his instructions very literally. The tones didn't sound like "beeps" to him- beeps are high pitched short sounds- so he didn't raise his hand. The kid thought he had to discern between beeps and non-beeps and was very proud that he was doing just so.

And a lesson to the nurse, us as parents, me as a teacher, and to caregivers and educators working with children everywhere...you have to really think about what you are asking someone to do and who your audience is and be very explicit with your instructions as they are easily misunderstood. If we hadn't been in the room and I didn't know my son so well, he would have been red flagged for hearing difficulties all due to a miscommunication.