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Thread: Selective Mutism

  1. #19

    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, Australia
    Posts
    8,980

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    Your child will need to be assessed to see if the issue stems from a speech problem or a social phobia - then treatment appropriate for that. My daughter sees a Child Psychologist as she has no speech problems, its all anxiety from a social phobia (like a fear of heights, only an anxiety of certain social situations).



    The person we are seeing is great, most Child Psychologists haven't treated many if at all, so try and find someone who has experience in this. You can also approach the childrens hospital for public care but I believe the waiting list is long, so we see someone privately, but unfortunately this is very expensive. Its taken some time for my daughter's kinder to really understand it, but I think now the psych has been to the kinder things will get better.

    ps. Hi Mary - I need to dig up your email and organise that catch-up!!!
    Kelly xx

    Creator of BellyBelly.com.au, doula, writer and mother of three amazing children
    Author of Want To Be A Doula? Everything You Need To Know
    Follow me in 2015 as I go Around The World + Kids!
    Forever grateful to my incredible Mod Team and many wonderful members who have been so supportive since 2003.

  2. #20

    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Berwick, Melbourne
    Posts
    947

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    When I was growing up I had a really good friend that had SM. We knew each other from the age of 4 and she did the same thing and would only talk to family but no-one else. She did talk to me though when we were little, but then i moved away with my family until I was 13 when we met back up, she didn't speak to me then - or anyone else but family - although it would have been hard for her, i recall we managed to communicate in other ways with no trouble, our teachers understood and she managed to get through most things. I recall the biggest problem being other kids - kids can be cruel - but having said that i think their comments bothered me more than it bothered her. Unfortunately we lost contact after high school. I can not imagine what it would be like as a parent facing this with their child, but for me, she was my friend and i didn't think of her in any other way. My point being, that although things may be harder, and not everyone will understand or accept it, there is help around that will hopefully help your child with this, it may take some time, but in the meantime, your child will make friends and learn to communicate in other ways, just like my friend did. Good luck.

  3. #21

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    Hi,

    Rachael thank you for your story of your friendship with a SM girl. I think a lot more is known now about SM and appropriate treatments. I don't know if your friend went through this, but just a few years ago many people believed that children with SM were oppositional and defiant rather than UNABLE to speak due to severe social anxiety (some people still believe this). In addition, many people (including some professionals) believed that SM was due to abuse or neglect - this has since been proven to be untrue in the vast majority of cases. Regardless, your friend was/is lucky to have such an understanding and accepting friend as you.

    This is a stressful time for my husband and I - I find myself thinking "how will she cope at school?" quite often. So far children at kinder have been very accepting of her. Early on, before she started talking at school, a little girl asked me "why doesn't she have a voice?". After I spent quite a bit of time at the kinder playing games with my daughter and she began to speak, this same girl said (with a big smile on her face) "now she has found her voice - she lost it, but now it has been found". My daughter has found a nice little group of girlfriends who all accept her for who she is (and it helps that she does now speak to them at kinder and at our house - we have weekly playdates with all 4 girls at our house). I just hope that she finds equally nice girlfriends at school (one girl from kinder will be going to the same school, the others to different schools).

    I also feel like my daughter has been dealt a double blow - firstly she has a speech delay and now this selective mutism. We are firstly working on her selective mutism (speech therapy was difficult when she was unable to speak to her therapist for a year) and now after 8 months of therapy we will again commence speech therapy. Luckily her speech isn't too hard to understand most of the time. We were originally told that she has verbal dyspraxia but we are beginning to question this diagnosis. This will become clearer to us as her speech therapy progresses. I sometimes feel like this selective mutism is like a wall of fear that surrounds her in social situations - I wish I could just break it down so she could be free of it forever.

    My other fear is that she will not be able to overcome her muteness in school and her education (and equally important her social development) will suffer as a result. I try not to worry too much about this, but I can't help it sometimes.

    p.s. Kelly, yes, please do email me when you want to catch up for a chat. Anytime after the next 2 weeks (overseas visitors right now).


    Cheers, Mary

  4. #22

    Default

    Hi,

    Rachael thank you for your story of your friendship with a SM girl. I think a lot more is known now about SM and appropriate treatments. I don't know if your friend went through this, but just a few years ago many people believed that children with SM were oppositional and defiant rather than UNABLE to speak due to severe social anxiety (some people still believe this). In addition, many people (including some professionals) believed that SM was due to abuse or neglect - this has since been proven to be untrue in the vast majority of cases. Regardless, your friend was/is lucky to have such an understanding and accepting friend as you.

    This is a stressful time for my husband and I - I find myself thinking "how will she cope at school?" quite often. So far children at kinder have been very accepting of her. Early on, before she started talking at school, a little girl asked me "why doesn't she have a voice?". After I spent quite a bit of time at the kinder playing games with my daughter and she began to speak, this same girl said (with a big smile on her face) "now she has found her voice - she lost it, but now it has been found". My daughter has found a nice little group of girlfriends who all accept her for who she is (and it helps that she does now speak to them at kinder and at our house - we have weekly playdates with all 4 girls at our house). I just hope that she finds equally nice girlfriends at school (one girl from kinder will be going to the same school, the others to different schools).

    I also feel like my daughter has been dealt a double blow - firstly she has a speech delay and now this selective mutism. We are firstly working on her selective mutism (speech therapy was difficult when she was unable to speak to her therapist for a year) and now after 8 months of therapy we will again commence speech therapy. Luckily her speech isn't too hard to understand most of the time. We were originally told that she has verbal dyspraxia but we are beginning to question this diagnosis. This will become clearer to us as her speech therapy progresses. I sometimes feel like this selective mutism is like a wall of fear that surrounds her in social situations - I wish I could just break it down so she could be free of it forever.

    My other fear is that she will not be able to overcome her muteness in school and her education (and equally important her social development) will suffer as a result. I try not to worry too much about this, but I can't help it sometimes.

    p.s. Kelly, yes, please do email me when you want to catch up for a chat. Anytime after the next 2 weeks (overseas visitors right now).


    Cheers, Mary

  5. #23

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    SA great!
    Posts
    315

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    i understand totally kelly.
    it took ages to work out what was 'wrong' with jade. she has a type of speech problem - she couldnt work out what to say if she was asked a question - a communication problem. id go to the doctors and ask if she was autistic, they'd say nah shes fine.
    its scary/devistating to finally know whats wrong, but now you can be strong and find someone to help her.
    best of luck with it.hugs

  6. #24

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    My niece is/was SM. She was diagnosed when she was 4 or 5. My SIL was devastated at the time and was very anxious over her starting school and not being able to communicate her needs. They worked with a specialist and with the school and TBH now you would never know that she'd ever had a problem. Her kindy teacher approached her current teacher to asked how her speech problem was going and her current teacher replied "what speech problem - she talks all the time!" She's still quiet and a little shy but she speaks if she wants to or needs to.
    When she was first diagnosed I read a lot of information which painted a pretty bleak picture of the potential for recovery but our experience with her has been very positive. I should add her SM was pretty bad - I didn't hear her voice until she was 8 (we don't live near them so I didn't see her often enough for me to be a safe person to talk in front of).

  7. #25
    donna_wool Guest

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    Hi Kelly

    I watched Today Tonight on TV and they had a segment on selective mutism. Check the story out on the website http://www.seven.com.au/todaytonight/. Hope this might help.

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