Dear Dr. Kennedy, Hello I had once seeked your advise about 4 years ago; and I truly believe and have faith in you, as an expert. I now have a six year old daughter, who appears to be very social and smart. My daughter is almost finished with Kindergarten and is on her way to 1st grade. Her teacher is very pleased and happy about the progress she has made. At the beginning of the year, my daughter was reserved and took her about one to two weeks to open up and talk to people; but now she responds comfortably when asked a question and speaks often to her classmates at school. However, there are certain people, including her uncle and her cousins that she has not spoken to all her life. Ever since she was born, I kept encouraging her to be outgoing, friendly, and specially talk to family members; but now that she is 6 yrs old, it seems to me she is doing the exact opposite. At one point, I thought she may be suffering from Selective Mutism since she just becomes mute in some relationships. I discussed it with her teacher; and she said " No, my daughter doesn't have that." Allow me to say this that My daughter is among the 15 to 20 percent of children who are born highly sensitive, deeply reflective, sensitive to the subtle, and easily overwhelmed. I have asked my daughter many times what makes it difficult for her to respond to some people in some relationships; and she says she doesn't know. The people who know her best believe there is nothing wrong with her; and she is absolutely perfect. But I am a mother, you know, and it's my job to worry and want the best for my child. Since I have high respect for you and value your thoughts and input, I would like to get your opinion on this matter. What do you think the problem is? Is it anxiety related?Contrary to what everybody tells me, do you think I need to have her checked by a specialist? And if yes, what kind?
Many many thanks to you and I look forward to hearing from you,
I would tend to regard her behavior as simply not preferring to speak with those particualr people. Overall it sounds like she is developing well. Is it reasonable to regard the behavior you describe as selective mutism? Yes, it does meet the criteria. However, it really is not an impediment in her overall life and I would not seek specialized intervention.
Thanks for your observation. That's exactly what's puzzling me. These people (my brother and his children, for example) keep giving her unconditional love and affection. The only thing I can think of is that she may be trying to get back at me. Because when she was just a baby, I kept pushing her to talk to them? Do you think my thinking is correct? And if yes, what do you think I should do to make things go back to normal ?
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