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    Default Selective Mutism

    Without going into the finer details, we believe our eldest may have selective mutism, and are in the process of getting an evaluation with a psych. I'm scared for him and what it means for his future. Are there any other parents facing the same diagnosis?

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    Bumping xx

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    Default Selective Mutism

    @MissTwiggley no advice im sorry but just wanted to say goodluck with everything.

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    MissTwiggley (08-07-2020)

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    Hey not facing the diagnosis but my eldest son has selective mutism. I believe I had it as a child as well. Stemming from anxiety. I was fine with most kids but terrified of talking to adults and would do all I could to avoid doing so.
    I was not as affected as my son, who also has autism and is intellectually impaired. He didn’t speak one word for the first 3 years of primary school. Not even to his peers/friends.
    He was in the care of my mother when he did finally start to speak and now that he’s 21 I just can’t remember what changed that he started speaking. It wasn’t much though and even now he is still very quiet with people he doesn’t know/in public.
    I don’t know what the treatments are just wanted to empathise.

    As a child who felt that way it truly can be overwhelming/scary and it’s really hard for people to understand that so I hope you and your child are getting support and care from your school/family/friends. X

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    MissTwiggley (08-07-2020)

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    Sorry I meant to say as for his future don’t be afraid. He may outgrow it or with the right help there’s a high chance it can be managed.

    Myself now, I am fine talking face to face with people but at 40 I still don’t like making phone calls to strangers. I mostly don’t like asking strangers questions and especially over the phone. I’ve never had any sort of therapy for it and I can’t really explain it. I guess it’s just carry over from my childhood.
    Having kids was a turning point for me because I had to speak for them.

    I can’t really say for my son because he isn’t good at conversation because of his autism. He will say hello and goodbye to people he doesn’t know and answer questions if he knows what to say.

    My only known hinderance has been anxiety all my life. It can be managed and I wish you all the best helping him

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    MissTwiggley (08-07-2020)

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    Hello. I have no experience with this but I just wanted to suggest equine therapy. My daughter went for a riding lesson the other day and the instructor was telling me about a little boy of 10 who came for therapy. He hadn’t spoken a word his whole life until the day he said goodbye to her after the session. Horses are amazing animals and I truly believe they can tap into things that people can’t. My other friends daughter has also greatly benefited from equine therapy with her sensory and anxiety issues. Might be worth exploring? All the best xx

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    MissTwiggley (08-07-2020)

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    Quote Originally Posted by MrsMummaButterfly View Post
    @MissTwiggley no advice im sorry but just wanted to say goodluck with everything.
    Thank you lovely! New territory, but we will get through it. xx

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluebirdgirl View Post
    Hey not facing the diagnosis but my eldest son has selective mutism. I believe I had it as a child as well. Stemming from anxiety. I was fine with most kids but terrified of talking to adults and would do all I could to avoid doing so.
    I was not as affected as my son, who also has autism and is intellectually impaired. He didn’t speak one word for the first 3 years of primary school. Not even to his peers/friends.
    He was in the care of my mother when he did finally start to speak and now that he’s 21 I just can’t remember what changed that he started speaking. It wasn’t much though and even now he is still very quiet with people he doesn’t know/in public.
    I don’t know what the treatments are just wanted to empathise.

    As a child who felt that way it truly can be overwhelming/scary and it’s really hard for people to understand that so I hope you and your child are getting support and care from your school/family/friends. X
    I wonder if I had it as well. Mother tells me I was painfully shy to the point of not really speaking to any adults and simply nodding, however I wonder if it's all within the realm of acceptable? I would assume not speaking to adults and your peers would not be acceptable though.

    I am genuinely afraid for his future as much as I try not to be. He's gone from a happy, precocious boy to one who won't utter more than two words and if he does, it's mostly to his younger brother when they play. He will talk non-stop with him. I'm glad he still has the confidence to do that.

    SM is a form of severe anxiety what I can decipher. Not really surprised though. I've had generalised anxiety since I could remember and I know this disposition can be hereditary.

    Thank you for the well wishes. I have a lot of hope that we can help him become more like his former self. I'm so pleased to know that your son has improved somewhat. xx

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    Quote Originally Posted by amiracle4me View Post
    Hello. I have no experience with this but I just wanted to suggest equine therapy. My daughter went for a riding lesson the other day and the instructor was telling me about a little boy of 10 who came for therapy. He hadn’t spoken a word his whole life until the day he said goodbye to her after the session. Horses are amazing animals and I truly believe they can tap into things that people can’t. My other friends daughter has also greatly benefited from equine therapy with her sensory and anxiety issues. Might be worth exploring? All the best xx
    Thank you for the suggestion and hope! I will definitely give it consideration. xx

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    amiracle4me (11-07-2020)

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    I can't share any direct experience, however I have come across a couple of students over the years either diagnosed or with extreme shyness around adulta and have possibly been since diagnosed.

    I was "painfully shy" as a child and now understand that I have had anxiety all my life (even though it took until almost 30 to put a label on it).

    I will say something I have observed that may be of note for you going forward. A LOT of education professionals (teachers, aides, etc) are quite extroverted and even the introverted ones LOVE to talk. Often they are passionate about all things literacy, including speaking. Shy children and SM seem to cause a subconscious discomfort for some teachers. They will work hard to try to "bring them out of their shell".

    I guess for me, I don't see being shy or not talking to everyone who wants to talk to them as a problem in itself. If underlying anxiety is the cause, THERE is the problem. As I'm sure you would know, being forced to talk when you feel uncomfortable doing so does not help the underlying problem, nor solve the symptom.

    If their teacher/educator want any practical tips. Try to frame any questions to the child in a closed way, so they can give a yes/no answer non-verbally. I have found, to talk to them, I get to their level more beside them than in front of them (it's non-threatening plus puts your ear closer) and almost whisper results in a response more often. The kids I have worked with especially did not like to be asked anything when the whole class was listening.

    Big hugs though. We're in the thick of severe anxiety with DS here. We have some bandaid fixes for now, but the current Covid situation is not making it easy to access all the support we normally could.

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