Selective mutism/somewhat reposted minus personal details - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 21 Old 06-29-2011, 01:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone.  My original post just had a lot of background information that I didn't want people to be reading if there was no one that could help.  So, without posting all of that, my question was...

 

I have a 4 year old with selective mutism and reactive attachment disorder.  At 3 years old, she finally started talking to us at home.  She still never spoke out of the house for another year after that, and now, at 4 1/2, she will talk out of the house very very rarely--when she does, it's a very high pitched squeaky voice.  Her actual voice is deeper, fairly loud, and sounds like a completely normal voice.  But this out-of-the-house voice is very completely opposite her normal voice, almost like she's choosing an "alternate" voice for out of the house.  She will also do that same voice if she's in trouble for something.  I was just wondering if that was normal for SM children who eventually choose to talk, or is this high pitched voice a symptom of something else?  It seems like she's choosing it, because as I mentioned, at home, when she's completely comfortable and in a non-anxiety state, her voice is much lower and louder.  But once she starts her high pitched squeaky voice, she can't stop it, no matter how hard she tries, until she's in a completely different environment...  I have some experience with children who do that as a part of autism, but those children tend to have the higher voice across every environment and not just selectively.


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#2 of 21 Old 07-06-2011, 11:47 AM
 
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I wish I had a chance to read.  I've had it suggested that my son may have this.  Maybe you should try reposting since a lot of people have been on holiday the last several days.


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#3 of 21 Old 07-06-2011, 03:00 PM
 
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Hi, I wonder if this is of interest.  The blogger used to be a regular poster here.  You can also search for her posts by her UN MissInformation.

 

http://raisingsmartgirls.wordpress.com/our-daughters-selective-mutism-journey/


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#4 of 21 Old 07-06-2011, 08:20 PM
 
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I was away for a few days over the long weekend then got swamped at work. Sorry I didn't see this sooner. Selective mutism was one of the early hypotheses for my DD. Turns out it wasn't the case but I did do some interesting reading about it while we were trying to figure her issues out. I hope you find help and resources that will be useful to you and your little one.

 

This site: http://www.selectivemutism.org/ had a lot of useful information for me. We thought DD might have SM because of how completely different she was at home versus out in public or at preschool. For her first 2 years at preschool she didn't talk to anybody. She does have severe anxiety and SM can be a manifestation of that.


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#5 of 21 Old 07-06-2011, 09:49 PM
 
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This board tends to have a VERY high rate of views for how many responses because the situations are so specialized and because even if it something someone is famlier with, they may need to mull over what you say before figuring how to respond.

 

I never saw your original post.

 

My DD went 2 years without speaking to anyone outside our family. Her DX's include Asperger's and Social Anxiety Disorder.


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#6 of 21 Old 07-07-2011, 05:58 AM
 
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I wish I had read your post because I suspect we may be dealing with this too, though DS is still young so it may be too soon to tell. He has a HUGE vocabulary and talks non-stop at home (or in the car etc.) but will not talk when we're out, won't respond to other people, often appears to be deaf around others... although he is starting to occasionally provide short answers to people he knows really really well. I guess I'm still hoping he'll outgrow it but I'm quite certain I had/have SM myself so I don't know if it's genetic but it may not be likely that he'll just start talking...

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#7 of 21 Old 07-08-2011, 11:14 AM
 
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#8 of 21 Old 07-08-2011, 05:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone.  My original post just had a lot of background information that I didn't want people to be reading if there was no one that could help.  So, without posting all of that, my question was...

 

I have a 4 year old with selective mutism and reactive attachment disorder.  At 3 years old, she finally started talking to us at home.  She still never spoke out of the house for another year after that, and now, at 4 1/2, she will talk out of the house very very rarely--when she does, it's a very high pitched squeaky voice.  Her actual voice is deeper, fairly loud, and sounds like a completely normal voice.  But this out-of-the-house voice is very completely opposite her normal voice, almost like she's choosing an "alternate" voice for out of the house.  She will also do that same voice if she's in trouble for something.  I was just wondering if that was normal for SM children who eventually choose to talk, or is this high pitched voice a symptom of something else?  It seems like she's choosing it, because as I mentioned, at home, when she's completely comfortable and in a non-anxiety state, her voice is much lower and louder.  But once she starts her high pitched squeaky voice, she can't stop it, no matter how hard she tries, until she's in a completely different environment...  I have some experience with children who do that as a part of autism, but those children tend to have the higher voice across every environment and not just selectively.


~Brandon Michael (11/23/03), Jocelyn Lily Nữ (2/4/07, adopted 5/28/07 from Vietnam), Amelia Rylie (1/14/09), & Ryland Josef William (9/7/05-9/7/05 @ 41 wks). 
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#9 of 21 Old 07-08-2011, 05:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joensally View Post

Hi, I wonder if this is of interest.  The blogger used to be a regular poster here.  You can also search for her posts by her UN MissInformation.

 

http://raisingsmartgirls.wordpress.com/our-daughters-selective-mutism-journey/



O.M.G.  I haven't even gotten past the first paragraph and it reads like my own daughter's story.  The whole thing about the fear reflex...  She is constantly in an anxious phase, but when she's out of the house, it is so very high that it's almost paralyzing to her.  


~Brandon Michael (11/23/03), Jocelyn Lily Nữ (2/4/07, adopted 5/28/07 from Vietnam), Amelia Rylie (1/14/09), & Ryland Josef William (9/7/05-9/7/05 @ 41 wks). 
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#10 of 21 Old 07-12-2011, 04:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Anyone?  


~Brandon Michael (11/23/03), Jocelyn Lily Nữ (2/4/07, adopted 5/28/07 from Vietnam), Amelia Rylie (1/14/09), & Ryland Josef William (9/7/05-9/7/05 @ 41 wks). 
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#11 of 21 Old 07-12-2011, 04:50 AM
 
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I don't know. My DS has a high-pitched, sing-song voice at home & he uses a similar, but much quieter, voice when we're out, if he talks at all. I don't notice much difference in pitch -- it's mostly the volume, though the high pitch is not as obvious when he's talking so quietly, and he tends to be less sing-songy around others too (maybe because he's so much more serious). He also doesn't seem to understand -- or maybe just is not able to do this -- talking louder to get someone's attention (i.e. DH's if he's not in the room)...

I have no clue if this is at all helpful to you. I could see her maybe feeling anxious around others so talking in a higher-pitched voice? You see adults doing this even sometimes, in uncomfortable situations they start to squeak... so maybe that's just 'normal' but more frequent & pronounced with SM?

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#12 of 21 Old 07-12-2011, 06:26 AM
 
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Originally Posted by AllyRae View Post





O.M.G.  I haven't even gotten past the first paragraph and it reads like my own daughter's story.  The whole thing about the fear reflex...  She is constantly in an anxious phase, but when she's out of the house, it is so very high that it's almost paralyzing to her.  


My DD never did the high pitched thing, but for her it is about fear. It was like she wasn't really there -- her body was there, but the rest of her had gone someplace else.

 

One of the bizarre things about it was the degree to which it wasn't noticable to others. She was seen as "good."  It kind of amazes me the degree to which our culture still believes that a child should be seen an not heard. She could be completely motionless and glassy eyed and unable to make a sound, and a lot of people (including my family of origin) couldn't see that there was anything wrong.

 

She's 14 now and for the first time in her life has friends. She talked on the phone to a friend yesterday and I almost cried.

 

Ally, is your DD in speech therapy? I'm wondering if a speech therapist could work in this with her or shed some light on it for you?

 


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#13 of 21 Old 07-12-2011, 06:46 AM
 
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One of the bizarre things about it was the degree to which it wasn't noticable to others. She was seen as "good."  It kind of amazes me the degree to which our culture still believes that a child should be seen an not heard. She could be completely motionless and glassy eyed and unable to make a sound, and a lot of people (including my family of origin) couldn't see that there was anything wrong.


DS too!! it's painful to hear people say how 'good' he is when I see how hard it is for him to BE in the world, and it astounds me that so many people don't notice it.

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#14 of 21 Old 07-12-2011, 08:10 AM
 
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My dd has SM and one thing she will often do is hum answers to people (usually people she really wants to talk to but can't - like other kids).  For example, if she is at the park and she wants to call out her friend's name she will make a "Hmmm - hmm" sound as loud as she can across the park.  All the "hmm -hmm-ing" answers can really get irritating for me to listen to, but I have to look at the positive of it - at least she is vocalizing and communicating with others.  As a parent of an SM child, I would see any vocalization outside the home as success and I would try to build on that success. What I mean by that is, if you can identify who the person is she will talk to in that squeaky voice or in what, specific, situations she will use that voice, try to bring those people or situations into your home (where she typically uses her lower, more relaxed voice).  

 

I could go on and on about SM, but I would also highly recommend this Yahoo group on SM.  The group is extremely supportive and full of ideas and experiences.

 

http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/Selectivemutismsupportgroup/

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#15 of 21 Old 07-12-2011, 10:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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OMG, the "good" thing.  Yes.  I got that with both of my two older children--when my son was 2, he would sit in a group, stare at the floor, and stack blocks during entire meetings.  Everyone would comment on how good he was and wished their children were that quiet and good...except my child was "good" because he was a non-verbal autistic child with no social skills and spent entire playgroups stimming and keeping to himself.  We get the good thing a lot with my SM daughter too--because she's so quiet and doesn't run around screaming like other kids her age...except I'd LOVE it if she was running around screaming like other kids her age.


We did have her in ST, until the ST decided that it was causing more harm than good...she got even more anxious there and wouldn't do a single thing for the ST.  She actually didn't even say her first word until after she was discharged from ST for that very reason...

Quote:
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My DD never did the high pitched thing, but for her it is about fear. It was like she wasn't really there -- her body was there, but the rest of her had gone someplace else.

 

One of the bizarre things about it was the degree to which it wasn't noticable to others. She was seen as "good."  It kind of amazes me the degree to which our culture still believes that a child should be seen an not heard. She could be completely motionless and glassy eyed and unable to make a sound, and a lot of people (including my family of origin) couldn't see that there was anything wrong.

 

She's 14 now and for the first time in her life has friends. She talked on the phone to a friend yesterday and I almost cried.

 

Ally, is your DD in speech therapy? I'm wondering if a speech therapist could work in this with her or shed some light on it for you?

 



 


~Brandon Michael (11/23/03), Jocelyn Lily Nữ (2/4/07, adopted 5/28/07 from Vietnam), Amelia Rylie (1/14/09), & Ryland Josef William (9/7/05-9/7/05 @ 41 wks). 
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#16 of 21 Old 07-13-2011, 06:31 PM
 
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I do not have any experience with children with SM.  I am a speech therapist and people who have trouble with stuttering will often find that they can use fluent (smooth) speech when using a different voice. With people who stutter it can be like "acting" or creating a character and the character has smooth speech so while they use the voice they do to.  It is not a long term solution to stuttering but a way to trick the brain.  Stuttering can be associated with significant anxiety, and tension especially around speaking.   I wonder if this is similar to what your daughter is doing, the other thing is that if she is speaking but still having significant anxiety she may have a lot of tension in her neck, throat, and vocal chords.  If you tighten the muscles of your throat etc, it will make your voice higher.  You may try to help her reduce the tension to the muscles of the head/neck and it may help some.  For kids I often use examples like:  pretend your an ice cube, now slowly melt or pretend your a toy soldier, now make yourself into a rag doll.  The first part shows them how being "tense" feels and then the idea is to try to loosen the muscles.  Progressive relaxation may also help with the ability to relax the muscles on command if you practiced with her regularly.  I hope this helps, it is great that she is speaking in public!  

Also, someone mentioned speech therapy and I can see how that would be very hard for a child with SM, in speech therapy the whole pressure is on talking, which IMO would be very anxiety provoking.  I would make sure the speech therapist had experience with children with SM and find out what type of treatment they were planning to use.  It is not outside out scope of practice but I don't know many therapists who have experience in this.

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#17 of 21 Old 07-29-2011, 09:26 AM
 
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we believe our preschooler has SM also although he has not been evaluated yet. Out of curiosity, what did your daughter end up having? not talking for 2 years in school while talking at home fine does sound like SM to me and you do mention social anxiety which is what SM is too.


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#18 of 21 Old 07-29-2011, 05:15 PM
 
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I have a four year old who's on the autism spectrum. He does something similar. When he's overwhelmed/ anxious/ around new people, he talks in a high pitched voice and says he is a baby (or sometimes it's a kitty) He mostly just squeaks and says very few actual words. He will do this for hours if he is not comfortable. I don't know if that helps any, but when he is uncomfortable he only speaks in a VERY high pitched voice. At home, he speaks well and in a normal pitch. 


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#19 of 21 Old 07-30-2011, 02:35 PM
 
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#20 of 21 Old 09-14-2011, 03:39 PM
 
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I know these posts are a couple of months old, but felt like sharing too.  My 9 year old DS has selective mutism...we first figured it out when he was in preschool.  My mom saw an article in People Magazine about it, and from there, we went online and found the Selective Mutism website that has the diagnostic criteria listed, and he hits it all.  He has NEVER spoken in school, even now that he is older.  He will talk non stop at home with us, but if people he doesn't really know well come over, it takes a while for him to open up and even talk AROUND visitors in our home.  When I take him to school, if he needs to tell me something, he will make sure no one is around, and then whisper to me.  Luckily, the school he attends is a very small private school and they are aware of the SM and modify any verbal assignments for him.  He has a card taped to his desk with basic statements on it, such as "I need help", "May I use the bathroom", etc., so that he can raise his hand and point to what he needs.  He will participate in classroom activities in non-verbal ways, and he will play with the kids on the playground - just not talk.  At home, however, he will talk to certain kids on our street.  But behaviorally, he was very defiant and oppositional quite frequently, which, from what I researched, is quite common in these kids.  He has been seeing a psychologist off and on for about 5 years (but we are back on a good schedule now, he sees her every 2 weeks)...he very rarely will even speak to her.  Due to his behavior issues getting worse, and his anxiety in regards to even going to school escalating to the point where he was getting stomach aches every morning, and even refused to get out of the car a couple of times, the psychologist referred us to a child psychiatrist to begin medication therapy.  After researching and learning that the meds would only be temporary, we decided that we would try that route after having avoided it for so many years.  He has now been on the medication for almost a month, and his behavior at home has drastically improved, and even he has noticed that he doesn't get as upset and yell as much, and that his stomach no longer bothers him in the morning.  He is happier about going to school, gets up with ease in the morning, and even looks forward to getting to school early to walk the track with the other kids.  He is so much more relaxed, and I know he is happier.  So while I know many people don't want to go the medication route, for us it is working very well.  I'm hopeful that he will, over time, with the help of his psychologist and medication, feel so much more confident that he will finally open up and be comfortable enough to talk at school and in other public settings as well.

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#21 of 21 Old 09-15-2011, 05:37 AM
 
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I know these posts are a couple of months old, but felt like sharing too. 

wave.gif It can be difficult to find experiences to match the special needs we are dealing with, so adding more, even to "old" threads, is helpful smile.gif.
 

 


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