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Overcoming selective mutism
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Overcoming selective mutism

My 4 year old daugthter  did not speak in school for the past two years and was diagonised as selective mutism. I had not forced her to speak after realising her problem and also explained to the teacher and assured her she will overcome the problem. Recently the school had their school day and she was included in a program to sing a welcome song. To the teachers surprise she started singing the song and she encouraged the child by drawing her stars on her hand. Last saturday was her program and she actually sang in front of a large crowd quite confidently.I hope in the comming days she will start talking in the school with her teachers. I hope this will provide encouragement to other parents facing similar problem
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I was happy to read your posting re selective mutism.  It is so exciting when a sm child makes a breakthrough.  I belong to a support group for parents and teachers of children suffering from anxiety - many of whom are selectively mute.  However, your title is a bit misleading.  Anxiety is a life-long struggle and singing in a concert does not indicate that she has "overcome" her fears/anxieties.  Most sm children often speak first using scripted text - i.e. singing, reading, reciting, etc.  It is the "thinking process" which is more difficult - initiating words and ideas and actions.  It was several years after our sm child sang in a concert (in a duet, nonetheless) before she was speaking comfortably at school.  Our child is now 13 years old and we still have issues to face.

I was glad to read that you have contacted medical personnel.  I hope this person is experienced in anxiety disorders as conditions change and so do the child's perception.  This post is mostly to make others aware that the process to managing one's fears/anxieties is a very, very long one.  Again, congratulations on your daughter's breakthrough.  I wish you the best ....
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Thankyou. I became aware of SM almost one year back only after you reacted to my question.

I will write about the other developments after meeting her teacher this saturday.
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I'm so glad to hear from you.  The purpose of our support group is to help "one child at a time" and I'm glad your daughter is overcoming her fears/anxieties.  We had new parents attend our group meeting this month - again - one child at a time.

If you have any questions or feel that I might be able to help, please send a message by clicking on my blue ID - sometimes I just do not get a chance to read all of the postings on this site.  All the best - and thanks for responding ....
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I could not meet her school teacher this Saturday as it was holiday. I will try and meet her this Saturday.  

My daughter  is attending special school  to improve her personality on Saturdays   since Jun’08. They teach public speaking, art, general knowledge etc  and also conduct stage shows at regular intervals. The teachers were aware of her problem, but they insisted that she was not the shy kind and had promised improvement in three to four months. She did  not speak to any of the instructors / teachers  and exhibited the same pattern as in the regular school.

She showed little improvement in group activities except for ‘slight’ dancing during the last stage show in Dec’08.  But this Saturday she was remarkable, I was told, and received a lot of compliments from her teacher. My daughter was willingly  answering all  the questions and had the loudest voice in the class. They had conducted a mock interview for all the children and she answered all the questions boldly.

I really have no idea as to what transformed her and I have not tried to probe her as I am scared of any negative reaction.  Three weeks back my daughter  had asked me about her English speaking skills and I had assured her that she is the best in the class ( English is not our mother tongue but the medium of instruction  at school).

I want to know as to what care I should take to help her improve and maintain the current level.
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It sounds as if what you are doing is correct - even if you aren't sure.  Remember that sm is your daughter's affliction and she will be the one to determine "when" and "how" she is able to manage her fears/anxieties.  It sounds like she has already made the decision.  I suspect the Saturday school has smaller classes and the routine is less formal - these methods help our children.

By the way, many sm children are not shy - it is their chemical make-up which renders them to appear shy - often their true temperament is very outgoing.  Our child fits this mould - she is hesitant when in new situations, but she is not shy   Hope this helps ...
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my daugher has sm from age 3 to age 8.  We tried everything but drugs which every professional tried to push on us. Finally I put her on a church prayer group and the next day she said hello to a little girl who said hello to her. From there I got serious about prayer and fasting and had people praying for her. in the next 3 months I saw unbelievable results. Besides prayer, we cont. to have social fun play dates with friends and the game that she finally began to blurt out words was when we played charades, She just couldnt keep the words in. Finally on the last day of school she said "Here" when her name was called.Not a big deal for most people,but it was exciting for me. We have never had to deal with it again, Praise God! It has been 4 years now.
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