When Do Babies Respond to Their Name?

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Have you ever wondered when do babies respond to their name?

It’s challenging to give a blanket statement, as all children develop at their own pace.

With that said, there are general milestones that parents can consider when it comes to child development and their language skills.

When Do Babies Respond to Their Name?

When it comes to determining when do babies know their names, many believe that it happens anywhere between seven and nine months.

If they are unable to respond by their first birthday, doctors will typically recommend a specialist.

Alternatively, they will provide you with a list of things to do at home to help your child respond to their name.

Your doctor will examine a few other areas to rule out any other concerns, such as autism.

They will also consider a lack of communication, sudden communicative regressions, trouble making eye contact, and more.

Most often, they’ll ask about any repetitive behaviors your child might be exhibiting and how they make requests.

When Should My Baby Respond to His Name?

During their early years, it’s easy to assume that your baby recognizes their name.

In fact, you might notice they’ll make sounds or turn to you when you call for them.

This process, however, doesn’t mean they know their name; it merely means that they recognize your voice.

So, when should my baby respond to his name?

By five months old, you’ll begin to notice your child will respond to their name rather than the sound of your voice.

Still, it can often take up to eight months for other children, and this would depend on their developmental abilities.

When Do Babies Know Their Names? The Link to Autism

More developmental specialists are studying the links between autism and children unable to respond to their names.

However, if your child is experiencing this issue, it does not automatically guarantee that he has autism.

There is an assortment of professionally guided examinations your child will go through before being diagnosed.

Specialists will pinpoint the specific stage where your child might have begun showing indicators of autism.

Often, autism is primarily diagnosed between the ages of three and four.

By adding the inability to respond to one’s name as criteria, they can diagnose as early as two years of age.

The inability to respond to their name and commands falls within the social skills branch of autism.

Typically, children will be likely to respond to environmental sounds but will ignore human voices.

This means that you might find your child doesn’t respond to you calling them but will respond when you tap on their shoulder.

The Diagnostic Process

As mentioned, simply because your child doesn’t respond to his name doesn’t mean he has autism.

Your doctor will go through an extensive process, including interviews about your child’s social behaviors, before he can give a diagnosis.

This process allows them to lay the framework for appropriate evaluation and, hopefully, a diagnosis.

There are a couple of steps to the diagnostic process, including:

Observing Social Interactions

It’s likely your pediatrician will observe while your child is faced with different social interactions.

They might have you call them by their name to determine if your child responds or looks back at you.

If they do not respond, the process will be repeated for confirmation.

PDD Assessment Scale

One of the critical tools your doctor will use is the PDD Assessment Scale.

As they begin the evaluation, your child’s behaviors will provide them with a specific grade or score. Depending on the final value, it can be easier to determine if they are autistic.

When it comes to responding to their name, the PDD Assessment Scale considers the following:

  • Does the child exhibit a normal reaction when being called?
  • Does the child ignore their name when called?
  • Do they turn to look at the person who is calling their name?
  • Does the participant show a significant abnormality when being called?
when do babies respond to their name

When Do Babies Recognize Their Names? Stage By Stage

Watching the developmental process of your children is essential to ensure they are meeting the right milestones.

As they get older, you can begin to answer when do babies recognize their names. Also, their behaviors regarding how they use their name are bound to differ, as well.

Let’s explore the way your child might begin to use their name throughout their stages of life.


As earlier discussed, your child should start mildly responding to their name between seven and nine months.

Some babies might show signs of response as early as five months and as later as nine months. You’ll often find that they will turn their head in your direction when you call for them.

You’ll want to pay most of your attention to their social development during this stage. Also, take note of whether or not they use noises and sounds to get your attention.

At this stage, the easiest way to reinforce your baby’s name is to call them by their name repetitively.


As toddlers should be able to say up to five words by 15 months, their name should be easier to recall.

You might even notice that your child could begin to try to say their name at this stage. However, it might not be as clear and audible as you say it, which is normal.

Parents will likely begin to see significant signs of their child at least responding to their name by 15 months.

You’ll want to continue with repetition by always referring to your child using their name so that they can begin imitating your speech.

It’s especially crucial as they transition to the later years of being a toddler and their language exploration.

One of the essential tips that every speech therapist suggests is to use adult talk with your children.

Instead of the baby cooing and babbling, you’ll want to narrate your day using adult words and pronunciation.

Ensuring that you combine verbs and adjectives while talking with your child helps him develop more vital language skills.

Towards the end of their toddler years, he should be able to refer to himself using his name.

He will also begin to use his name in regular sentences, such as “Jordan’s cup of milk” when referring to their drink.


There’s no doubt that by the time your child is in school, they’ll be able to recognize their name.

They’ll respond when their friends say it at recess or when their teachers are doing roll-call in the morning.

You might also begin to notice that they start to write and understand their name better by now.

This stage can also be exciting for parents, as teaching your kids how to write their names can be fun.

You can use a ton of sensory objects, such as shaving cream, sand, or even salt, to help them learn how to write.

Why Does My Baby Not Respond to His Name?

It can be challenging to know what to do if your child isn’t responding to his name at the appropriate milestone.

If you’re wondering why does my baby not respond to his name, it’s highly recommended you seek professional assistance to ensure he gets the care he needs.

At the same time, there are plenty of things that you can do at home to help him with any potential social delays.

Limit Distractions

The first thing to try when your child isn’t responding to his name is to limit distractions.

Your kids are going to be far more likely not to hear you or ignore you if you call for them while they’re watching TV.

To address this, find an area in your home where there aren’t any distractions, such as the kitchen table.

You’ll also want to consider finding something you can reward your child with if they respond correctly. Try giving them their favorite toy or a delicious treat.

To begin the process, call their name and if they look at you, provide them with a reward. If your child doesn’t respond, try a non-human voice cue, such as tapping the table.

When tapping, you can then begin to say their name, and if they look, you can provide them with a reward.

You’ll want to continue tapping and speaking until you can eliminate the physical stimuli and call them. This should be continued until your child responds to you at least 80% of the time.

Structured Settings

Once you’ve established that your kid can respond to you in an isolated environment, it’s time to try structured settings.

Slightly increase the number of distractions in the room and proceed with the same activity from earlier.

It’s highly likely that the process will take longer with more distractions, but getting their focus is essential.

Again, try calling for them and if they respond, provide a reward. If you do not get a response, use physical and verbal cues, slowly eliminating the physical signal.

Continue the process until they respond 80% of the time.

Unstructured Settings

The last step of the process is to try testing your child’s ability to focus on their name in unstructured settings.

The best way to test this is to wait until your children are busy with an activity, such as reading.

If you call for them and they look at you, let them know why they’re being rewarded for responding.

If they don’t respond, continue calling their name louder and louder until they look at you.

The most important part of this process is to make sure your children respond without any physical stimuli.

As they start to improve, try calling their name from further away in the house. Ideally, your child should respond even if they’re being called from another room in the home.

It’s best if you continue with this process in various settings, even in public, to help them respond effectively.

Do All Babies Respond to Names?

Not every baby responds to their name; even as they reach childhood, it can become challenging.

With the help of their pediatrician and a speech therapist, you can determine whether it’s a sign of more considerable concerns.

What’s more, by knowing when do babies respond to their name, you can help to reinforce positive behaviors, as well.