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#31 of 58 Old 02-15-2008, 08:57 PM
 
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Playdates with one child are a good idea. We've had this problem though. Ds will even be the one to suggest the playdate. I call the mom, arrange it, then when we arrive, he totally freezes up. Once he just sat on my lap for 45 min while the little girl that we invited to the park just played with other kids. Another time we were invited to a "party" (just 3 kids from school) and ds sat on my lap the entire time and flat out refused to do some of the activities. In the first case, I actually felt kinda bad for the little girl-- she came to play with ds and he just wasn't ready. After 45 minutes he "warmed up" but then her mom was about ready to go home. Bummer. It isn't always like that though. After several playdates with the same kids, he is getting more used to it. . . though sometimes, like last week, he tells me he wants a playdate with a little girl, I set it up, but on that day he freaks out has a big tantrum refusing to go (good thing she was sick andhad to cancel).

Do check out the Montessori school. I've been surprised that even "child centered" play-based preschools are actually very teacher driven. They are expected to do things as a group, start and finish at the same time, and participate. This is sooo stressful to ds. He just shuts down. The M set up has given him confidence. He always knows what to do, how to do it, and can gracefully not do something without it being a big deal. I just couldn't picture him in public kindy.
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#32 of 58 Old 02-15-2008, 11:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Playdates with one child are a good idea. We've had this problem though. Ds will even be the one to suggest the playdate. I call the mom, arrange it, then when we arrive, he totally freezes up. Once he just sat on my lap for 45 min while the little girl that we invited to the park just played with other kids. Another time we were invited to a "party" (just 3 kids from school) and ds sat on my lap the entire time and flat out refused to do some of the activities. In the first case, I actually felt kinda bad for the little girl-- she came to play with ds and he just wasn't ready. After 45 minutes he "warmed up" but then her mom was about ready to go home. Bummer. It isn't always like that though. After several playdates with the same kids, he is getting more used to it. . . though sometimes, like last week, he tells me he wants a playdate with a little girl, I set it up, but on that day he freaks out has a big tantrum refusing to go (good thing she was sick andhad to cancel).

Do check out the Montessori school. I've been surprised that even "child centered" play-based preschools are actually very teacher driven. They are expected to do things as a group, start and finish at the same time, and participate. This is sooo stressful to ds. He just shuts down. The M set up has given him confidence. He always knows what to do, how to do it, and can gracefully not do something without it being a big deal. I just couldn't picture him in public kindy.
Fortunately, my dd's current preschool teacher is supportive enough where she doesn't make my dd participate in the singing/dancing that they do every session (2x a week). All she asks is that dd stand up and sit down when everyone else does. The only reason the teacher asks her to do that, is because if my dd sits down when everyone else stands, the other children start sitting down too.

I was wondering how the playdate would go over too. It may have helped that it was right after school, it was at my neighbor's house (and we've been there plenty of times), and she's really relaxed around my neighbor's son and my other two children were there. And my dd is really comfortable around my neighbor, so the whole thing was pretty comfortable for her. She did have a small meltdown when she didn't get the Santa bowl for her popcorn, and cried for about 3 minutes over it, and I thought the playdate would have to end, but I took her aside and rocked her, and she really didn't want to leave, so she decided to calm down and go back to eating the popcorn in her own bowl.

But I do know what you mean. That happens with another child and my dd1. She wants playdates, but at least once she took a long while to warm up, but then eventually did.

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#33 of 58 Old 02-20-2008, 11:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow! We had another playdate today. Guess how that all came down? Dd2 whispered to the friend at school yesterday that she wanted to go over to her house to play with her. So I think this is great progress.

So we went and the girls had a great time. I think I would like to go to her school and see how she's doing next week.

She seems to absolutely adore this little girl, and the parents are really nice too. So I think it will be a good thing for both of them (the friend is an only child).

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#34 of 58 Old 02-20-2008, 03:40 PM
 
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hooray! one on one playdates are wonderful for the introverted kid. It really helps them ease into relationships at school and things start to seem a lot less overwhelming. Congrats.

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#35 of 58 Old 02-20-2008, 05:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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hooray! one on one playdates are wonderful for the introverted kid. It really helps them ease into relationships at school and things start to seem a lot less overwhelming. Congrats.
Well, it was more like 3 on 1 (my three kids and the friend). But they got along really nicely. And I really like the parents. Though I must say, it's hard to keep up with the conversations with them, because they literally talk at the same time. And the four kiddos were running around their home squealing with delight and it was quite interesting. And apparently the husband thinks we were pleasant enough, because he asked if me and dh and the kids wanted to join them for dinner (there was a place that had kids free with an adult purchase).

At any rate, I couldn't because I had previous evening plans, but it was nice that we were asked.

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#36 of 58 Old 02-21-2008, 11:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sigh....

Well, at school today, she didn't speak to her friend. And when the teacher asked all the kids to spell their names out loud, my dd wouldn't. She knows how. She knows how to write it just fine and say it at home. I guess I shouldn't have expected an instant change, but still...

I think I ought to go visit again and discuss with the teacher and director how she's doing.

I will have to make sure to go to that M school and find out more about it. I'm not sure public school will be the right place for her if she doesn't want to talk when the teacher says they need to.

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#37 of 58 Old 02-26-2008, 12:22 PM
 
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Shyness and introversion are not the same thing. Here's an article on shyness with some good advice about social situations. Important point: Introverts prefer solitary to social activities, but do not fear social encounters like shy people do. "If you see two people standing by a wall at a party," Carducci says, "the introvert is there because he wants to be. The shy person is there because he feels like he has to be." Read that and Caring for Your Introvert and see which one sounds more like your daughter.
I just wanted to thank you for this. I am an introvert in a long line of introverts. My kids seem to be to, especially my ds at 4. However, I was also shy as a child and adolescent. I really didn't realize until I was an adult that I was shy because I was an introvert and while I was perfectly comfortable living in my own world, I had the distinct impression that my introvertedness was not OK and that I "should" be like other kids. Now that I know that my introverdedness (is that a word?) and my highly sensitive nature are a part of my wonderful, unique, delightful and lovable self, I am shy only on the very rarest of occasions. When hanging out with judgemental types, primarily. My little introver ds, age 4-1/2, just prefers to not be around other kids his own age. He has some freinds (usually older), is well behaved at home and at school (as far as I know!), gets his work done and enjoys quiet play like legos, reading, drawing, trains, building. Talks when he needs to. Man, I just don't even know what I would do if I had extremely extroverted kids!
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#38 of 58 Old 02-27-2008, 09:36 AM
 
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Sigh....

Well, at school today, she didn't speak to her friend. And when the teacher asked all the kids to spell their names out loud, my dd wouldn't. She knows how. She knows how to write it just fine and say it at home. I guess I shouldn't have expected an instant change, but still...

Hmm, it sounds like your DD is shy and somewhat introverted. Just to let you know, my DD would have acted exactly the same way. She does NOT like to be asked to "perform" in front of people.

Ask yourself this: is there really anything wrong with not being willing to recite in front of the class? I suppose it would be nice if my daughter were willing to do that but I simply don't think that this is an aspect of her personality that I would be able to change, even if I wanted to. She just doesn't like being put on the spot in front of people, period. (And quite frankly, neither do I). It says nothing of her intelligence, what she is like when she plays with her friends, or her other capabilities.

I would forget about your daughter's shyness (and introvertedness, if she is also introverted) and work on her ability to "regulate her emotions" as you put it above. This latter issue will be far more important to her in life. It's emotional intelligence, which is considered even more important than IQ in its effect on grades in school, achieving goals, getting a job, working with other people, the list goes on....

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#39 of 58 Old 02-27-2008, 11:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hmm, it sounds like your DD is shy and somewhat introverted. Just to let you know, my DD would have acted exactly the same way. She does NOT like to be asked to "perform" in front of people.

Ask yourself this: is there really anything wrong with not being willing to recite in front of the class? I suppose it would be nice if my daughter were willing to do that but I simply don't think that this is an aspect of her personality that I would be able to change, even if I wanted to. She just doesn't like being put on the spot in front of people, period. (And quite frankly, neither do I). It says nothing of her intelligence, what she is like when she plays with her friends, or her other capabilities.

I would forget about your daughter's shyness (and introvertedness, if she is also introverted) and work on her ability to "regulate her emotions" as you put it above. This latter issue will be far more important to her in life. It's emotional intelligence, which is considered even more important than IQ in its effect on grades in school, achieving goals, getting a job, working with other people, the list goes on....
I know. I should not worry about how her shyness at 4 would affect her in the future. After all, she doesn't have to go to K until she's 6. There's still a lot of time for her to grow in that time.

Overall, she is better than she had been in the past year. She doesn't come home from and melt down like she did at the beginning of the year. I have learned to get her a snack, and just cuddle with her a bit while she decompresses from school.

Even yesterday, she didn't flip out that she couldn't go to our next door neighbor's house for a playdate (because she's coming down with a cold and they have an infant in the home). So that is a wonderful thing. Last year, she'd be crying for at least 15-20 minutes over it. Instead, I just made popcorn and turned on a movie and watched it with them.

I don't know, it's very strange. We'll have a series days of relative calm, then a string of days that's just one upset after another. Maybe yesterday we had a good day because we marble painted in the morning. She seemed to enjoy that a lot.

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#40 of 58 Old 02-27-2008, 03:46 PM
 
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I know. I should not worry about how her shyness at 4 would affect her in the future. After all, she doesn't have to go to K until she's 6. There's still a lot of time for her to grow in that time.
I really encourage you NOT to hold your daughter back in kindergarten when she is fully SIX years old just because she is shy. From what you have described, she is already intellectually ready for kindergarten. Please don't hold her back from pursuing things that her intelligence enables her to do because she is shy. Why should she not be allowed to enter kindergarten at age 5, with all the extraverted or non-shy kids. Why are they more "ready" than she is? Shyness and introversion are personality traits, not signs that you are "socially immature". Moreover, she is not necessarily going to be any less shy at 6 or 7 or 18.

Sorry for the mini-rant but this hits home with me. I was extremely shy and somewhat introverted at age 5 and VERY ready for kindergarten.

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#41 of 58 Old 02-28-2008, 02:00 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I really encourage you NOT to hold your daughter back in kindergarten when she is fully SIX years old just because she is shy. From what you have described, she is already intellectually ready for kindergarten. Please don't hold her back from pursuing things that her intelligence enables her to do because she is shy. Why should she not be allowed to enter kindergarten at age 5, with all the extraverted or non-shy kids. Why are they more "ready" than she is? Shyness and introversion are personality traits, not signs that you are "socially immature". Moreover, she is not necessarily going to be any less shy at 6 or 7 or 18.

Sorry for the mini-rant but this hits home with me. I was extremely shy and somewhat introverted at age 5 and VERY ready for kindergarten.
It's not a choice - her birthday falls mid-sept. The school system won't take her because they have a July 1st cutoff. They do have early 5's programs for those who have birthdays just before the cutoff, but she won't be eligible for those programs either. What I ended up doing was putting her in a 3-4 year old preschool class this year, and next year, she'd be in a 4-5 year old pre-kindergarten class (same school, just a bit more focus on K readiness).

Believe, me, academically, she might be able to handle going in the fall, but technically she won't be five until mid sept. As far as I know, they won't let her in K unless she's 5 by July 1. I don't know of any exceptions to that rule. I don't know if they'd bend the rule, unless somehow I got dd tested as gifted or something.

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#42 of 58 Old 03-15-2008, 01:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I just thought I'd update...I'm scheduling an evaluation with a pediatric neuropsychiatrist in April. It came after a conversation I had with my mom yesterday after she took my dd2 to a preschool field trip for me (I was sick and was not feeling up to taking 3 kids).

My mom tried to engage dd during the trip. She isn't quite the fun grandma like my MIL is, but my mom does try a bit. She even took her out for ice cream. My dd didn't say a word the entire time she was with her. She smiled and nodded and used non-verbal communication, but wouldn't even try to make a peep. My mother suggested to me that dd may be selectively mute and not just shy. I was about to discount her and write it off, until I actually look up what selective mutism was.

I saw my dd in every description they had for it. Because it has been 6 months with very little change in the school setting, I've decided it's time to make a move on it, while she is not in kindergarten. Her prospects of overcoming this are much greater if we move on it now, than if we waited a few years.

Anyway, just thought I'd update. I will probably be back to this thread to update when I find out what they say as soon as I can.

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#43 of 58 Old 03-17-2008, 03:51 PM
 
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That does sound more serious than what I was thinking. Not speaking to Grandma at all is a bad sign, and when you point out how long she's been in the same school setting without warming up I see cause for concern there too. I hope you find exactly the help she needs!

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#44 of 58 Old 03-18-2008, 02:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
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That does sound more serious than what I was thinking. Not speaking to Grandma at all is a bad sign, and when you point out how long she's been in the same school setting without warming up I see cause for concern there too. I hope you find exactly the help she needs!
Thank you. Me too.

I've gotten some reassurance from a friend who's an elementary teacher who has had a few students in his school dx'd with SM. He has told me it is something that the children undergoing therapy with a particular doctor are doing very well now. I was able to get the name of the psychiatrist that the school is familiar with and he's in the same suburb as the pediatric neuropsychologist. So, I'm definitely going to be asking if the ped neuro. diagnoses the SM, and refers the children to the psychiatrist for therapy (because as I understand it, they don't do both at the one place).

It's going to be interesting. I will definitely let you all know how it goes.

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#45 of 58 Old 03-20-2008, 06:54 PM
 
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She doesn't have true SPD, but she would constantly tell me things were too loud, and water would bother her when she had to wash her hands or if it got on her clothes. That has lessened somewhat.
Has she been evaluated for SPD? While I think it is more than SPD going on, I just wonder if treating those issues might help? She sounds like her communication issues are more extreme than our son's were at that age (he would communicate to family always, and sometimes to other kids, but not to teachers, strangers, neighbors, etc.). Our son has benefited TREMENDOUSLY from OT. One of the things that the OT works on is the whole issue of self-regulation, which it sounds like is a major issue for her. He's still a sensitive introvert, but he's just that now.

Another book to read (in all of your spare time ) is The Challenging Child by Stanley Greenspan. I love that book because it describes a really nice way of connecting with kids and working with their issues through that connection. And it's mostly the parents who are doing the work.

It'll be interesting what the neuropsych says.

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#46 of 58 Old 03-21-2008, 10:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Has she been evaluated for SPD? While I think it is more than SPD going on, I just wonder if treating those issues might help? She sounds like her communication issues are more extreme than our son's were at that age (he would communicate to family always, and sometimes to other kids, but not to teachers, strangers, neighbors, etc.). Our son has benefited TREMENDOUSLY from OT. One of the things that the OT works on is the whole issue of self-regulation, which it sounds like is a major issue for her. He's still a sensitive introvert, but he's just that now.

Another book to read (in all of your spare time ) is The Challenging Child by Stanley Greenspan. I love that book because it describes a really nice way of connecting with kids and working with their issues through that connection. And it's mostly the parents who are doing the work.

It'll be interesting what the neuropsych says.
Thanks for the book rec., but for now, I'm done reading books . I need outside help. I'm tired of guessing at things and hoping that some book technique will work. I need to know for certain exactly what I'm dealing with. I am beginning to reconnect anyway, by spending at least 2-3 times a day with dd cuddling up with her. And if it turns out to be SM, I need more help than just myself getting her to reduce her overall anxiety levels, she'll need therapy to teach her to manage her anxiety levels, and I'll need the schools to be able to accommodate her needs (like videotaping her at home for oral reading assignments). SM is considered a special need, but it doesn't require a special school - in fact that would be the worst thing to do. She needs to be in the regular school with accommodations. Especially as I have a real suspicion about her that she's twice exceptional - gifted with this extreme form of social anxiety.

As far as the SPD, the SM diagnosis can also occur with SPD. The neuropsych will be able to tell if she's got that too. But, some of the things that used to bug her, don't as much anymore. She's kind of outgrowing things on that end of it. Washing her hands isn't that big a deal - she'll tolerate it okay now. She's not as sensitive to sounds as she once was.

Did I post this here or somewhere else? At any rate, I'll post this again if I already did.

The following characteristics have been found to be common in children with SM:

1. Heightened sensitivity to noise/crowds/touch (possible SPD)
2. Difficulty separating from parents (especially younger children) and difficulty sleeping alone
3. Introspective and sensitive (seems to understand the world around them more thoroughly than other children the same age, and displays an increased sensitivity to feelings and thoughts)
4. Behavioral manifestations at home, such as: moodiness, inflexibility, procrastination, crying easily, temper tantrums, need for control, bossiness, domination, extreme talkativeness, creativity and expressivity
5. Intelligent, perceptive and inquisitive
6. Tendency to be creative and artistic
7. Bedwetting, daytime wetting accidents (enuresis), anxiety over using public restrooms (paruresis), or accidents with bowel movements (encopresis)
8. Excessive tendency to worry and have fears (often manifested in children older than 6 years of age)

With the exception of #7, she has/had everything on this list.

The explanation I got for the behavioral issues and inability to self-regulate emotion is that those negative aspects are maladaptive coping mechanisms to situations that cause anxiety. So in light of all that, SM is the most accurate of all the "guesses" I've ever had. I just need a professional to dx it and get the ball moving on the right therapy for all of it.

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#47 of 58 Old 04-08-2008, 01:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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It was an hour and a half long...
She was allowed to play in an area close to where I was, but off to the side, where the doctor can watch her. The doctor wanted to see if she could get cause and effect by hammering pegs into a board, then turning the board over and doing it again (she did that a few times). She also played with some sort of board where you can move the animals to their homes. And she also drew lots of pictures on a magnadoodle and also came up to me and whispered what the pictures were (like Santa's bag full of presents). Oh, and there was a frog puppet she played with.

Some of my suspicions were confirmed. The dr said that while there is no question that my daughter is bright, she feels that she still has sensory issues and anxiety and it's the sensory issues that are leading to the mutism and other behaviors she exhibits (like the meltdowns and some problems with transitions she had in the past). She had said that not only did she think dd had oversensitive in some areas, in others she was undersensitive (that she didn't seem to register or notice something that she should have been able to - and I don't know what that should have been). She also feels there are some strong anxieties (including separation anxiety), but overall dd tolerated the session very well and I know I for one was a little surprised that she didn't just freeze up while we were there. As far as the sensory issues goes, she mentioned that there is a "bundle of early reflexes that need development" (I wasn't clear that if it was specific to my dd or to the age group she is in). But she did go on to say that she felt that some of them could go away on their own, especially since I have seen some improvement over last year. However, I also do know that if they don't, they could impair her development in other areas. She also told me some of the things I've seen like the clicking sound she makes sometimes recently, the lip licking and pulling in of her lower lip indicates oral reflexes that could either be a nervous habit, or they could be an actual tic (it's hard to say at the moment).

As far as her cognitive abilities go, she said she higher brain function is definitely advanced for a 4 year old. She is capable of planning her play and executing it out. Meaning, she's just not randomly doing things, she has a plan in her mind and then executes the plan.

But, and even though this seemed like not a big deal at the time, and I don't think she could say it specifically without further testing, she noticed my daughter's attention start to drift. She kept asking me questions about whether or not I noticed if she could sustain her attention. I was kind of at a loss of what to say, because I have 3 children at home and we are busy a lot and it's not like I was timing her activities. And I'm not sure exactly what she meant. In thinking about it now, I'm wondering if it was that she moved from activity to activity quite quickly - but really they were "baby toys" and not going to engage her attention for very long. I mean, she can come up with complex play with dolls and playmobil pirates, and make up stories about the pictures she'll see in a book from beginning to end. Not a baby book either, but she did this with her sister's Arthur book. She also kept looking up to see what was going on with me and the doctor - I mean, my dd is not stupid - she knows we were talking about her.

Because of the drifts in attention that concerns her, the doctor did recommend we get her tested further. I am now realizing as I'm talking about this, she probably thinks my dd might have an attention deficit disorder. Except honestly, even though she may be, I think she's just very bright and gets bored because she needs to be challenged. I mean, how exciting is it to master something quickly and then do it over and over and over and over again? Quite honestly, I don't know many 4 year olds that can sit to do many things for longer than 10 minutes anyway. If she thinks my dd has an attention problem, then some friends of mine should really worry about their kids, because she can sustain her attention much longer than they can. My gut instinct - she's gifted and just bored and needs to have more complex things to do in order for them to hold her attention. I know gifted children are OFTEN mislabeled adhd, when in all actuality, they are simply not challenged enough. I know my husband was gifted as a child, I know I was always in advanced and honors classes. It would not surprise me if dd is gifted too.

Oh, and the bottom line was that she sees my daughter is bright, creative and imaginative, but since this time is a sensitive period for neurological growth, she wants to look further into the sensory issues and also look more into the attention drift too (to confirm or rule out add), because this is the right time to be working on those issues. Oh, and just to be sure she doesn't have a hearing problem she suggested I go for a full audiological screening too.

Anyway, I did think further testing was in our best interest, simply because what she told us wasn't really a formal diagnosis (I don't think).
After a few (5 more sessions) she will sit down with dh and I and give the full appraisal of her.

Anyway, that's it in a long nutshell.

Mama of 3 girls: 7.5 , 6 , and 4.5
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#48 of 58 Old 04-17-2008, 10:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Yesterday was our first day of actual testing. It was with a speech and language pathologist who was testing her language comprehension. I know that she has the language comprehension of at least a 7 year old (we need to go back for more testing because she hit the cap on the one test and wasn't even challenged by the test at all - except when she had to verbally answer questions and then she wouldn't talk). The SLP didn't fully test her expressive language, because it took half the session to get her to talk at all, but she suspects her expressive language is advanced as well. I know for a fact that it is advanced just from being around her and seeing other children her age - you can see the difference.

Overall, as of right now, they are suspecting one very bright girl who is on sensory overload, and who still retains primitive reflexes that normally dissipate as babies develop. Her shutting down verbally is her way of protecting herself. Oh, and she also gets carsick frequently, which is a sign of problems with the vestibular sense. In fact, she threw up on the way to yesterday's appointment.

Just thought I'd update.

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#49 of 58 Old 04-17-2008, 05:13 PM
 
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I hope you get some answers soon.

Sahm mom to three lovely girls, and happily married to a great, sweet guy
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I am following this with interest because I believe my daughter is selectively mute with severe seperation anxiety. She is supposed to start kindergarten next year, but I can not even leave her for 30 mins to do children's church. She is a chatterbox with all the kids in my home daycare and the parents, but when she sees them at church or somewhere she is not comfortable she will not speak at all and freeze up. We have tried gymnastics, swimming, and karate without much luck, she won't leave my side and won't speak most of the time.

She will freeze up and not speak anytime she feels she is on the spot or people are watching her. She won't even eat sometimes if she feels like someone is looking at her. Same thing with trying new things or taking medicine, she wants us all to look away.

My husband thinks it is all made up, he thinks all mental disease, even the depression I am on disblility for is all in my head and can be overcome if you try hard enough. He thinks she is shy and stubborn and she'll get over it when we just leave her at school. I think that is bull and she needs help and is not going to seperate well. it will tramuatize her..

I am heartbroken over the whole thing and wish the first day of school would never come... I'm afraid she will be sick or need to use the bathroom, but be too afraid to ask...

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#51 of 58 Old 04-18-2008, 11:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am following this with interest because I believe my daughter is selectively mute with severe seperation anxiety. She is supposed to start kindergarten next year, but I can not even leave her for 30 mins to do children's church. She is a chatterbox with all the kids in my home daycare and the parents, but when she sees them at church or somewhere she is not comfortable she will not speak at all and freeze up. We have tried gymnastics, swimming, and karate without much luck, she won't leave my side and won't speak most of the time.

She will freeze up and not speak anytime she feels she is on the spot or people are watching her. She won't even eat sometimes if she feels like someone is looking at her. Same thing with trying new things or taking medicine, she wants us all to look away.

My husband thinks it is all made up, he thinks all mental disease, even the depression I am on disblility for is all in my head and can be overcome if you try hard enough. He thinks she is shy and stubborn and she'll get over it when we just leave her at school. I think that is bull and she needs help and is not going to seperate well. it will tramuatize her..

I am heartbroken over the whole thing and wish the first day of school would never come... I'm afraid she will be sick or need to use the bathroom, but be too afraid to ask...
Oh, dear, I'm so sorry to hear this.

So, she's currently not in a preschool?

Are you in the US?

One thing I might suggest to you is writing down everything you can about her. Take accurate notes of her behavior. You can, without any cost to you, get her evaluated through your state's preschool (3-5) early intervention program. You can say you are concerned about her behavior potentially affecting her academic success in school and want an evaluation before she enters K. Tell them you suspect something is amiss and why. They will screen her (or try to) and then they will be able to suggest whether or not she needs additional testing. The preschool screening usually happens 3-4 times a year. If you hurry, you can get one done soon.

Call your local school, tell them you want the name and number to the local early intervention program. They will know what it is and you can call that number they give you and get the ball rolling.

Even more than just support for your daughter, you need support for yourself.
Even if you husband doesn't believe there's a problem, maybe he would if you got some professional to put it in writing that there is a problem. Maybe he'd be more inclined to pursue getting help.

Is your dd going to K the fall of 08, or the fall of 09? If it's the fall of 09, you have time to get the preschool early intervention process going.

Did your child have a K screening process? Most schools in the US have a K readiness screening. You can voice your concerns during the screening session, ask questions about what happens if x,y,z occurred, and make it clear that you believe your daughter has anxiety issues, severe separation anxiety, and possibly selective mutism. Ask them point blank what you can do now to ease the transition to school. It is in the school's best interest for themselves that they help you help your daughter.

During the K screening process for my oldest daughter (not the one with severe anxiety/sm), she froze up during the first assessment. It went into her file that she is extremely shy and wouldn't respond to the tester. But then when she moved to the next table and started warming up, she was responding. But the note stayed in her file. As it happened, they seemed to take this into account when they placed her with a warm and friendly teacher.

Now, should you happen to get no helpful answers from anybody (and that is unlikely as early intervention is taken very seriously by the school system), all you can do is wait til she is in school and see what happens. Send a note with your daughter in her backpack explaining that she may have difficulties. If something "bad" should happen, then you can at least argue with the teacher/administration that you warned them and they didn't do anything about it. Then become "that parent" and complain until they do something about it.

Basically what I'm saying is that (unless you can homeschool, but I'm guessing your dh will be dead set against it), if you get nowhere with early intervention, that you may end up having to send your dd into a situation that will be very uncomfortable for her. I want to assure you that even if it is uncomfortable for her, "she WILL be okay". She will not be ruined for the rest of her life if she has a difficult transition to K. Even getting help a little later will be better than getting no help at all.

As long as you can get help for your daughter before she is 8 for SM, she will have a better chance of success at changing it.

In the meantime, here are some resources about selective mutism you can read up on.

http://selectivemutismcenter.org/WhatisSM.htm

http://www.selectivemutism.org/about-smg

http://www.asha.org/about/publicatio.../020924ftr.htm

My husband used to think dd was being stubborn on purpose. He hated it when she looked away when he was talking sternly to her (for discipline purposes). It was only when I took her to the early intervention evaluation where she didn't respond for them, and when she went to preschool, and wouldn't talk there either that he began to realize she's not just being defiant.

There is a huge difference between "WON'T" and "CAN'T".

Do you think he'd be willing to read some of the description of the selectively mute child?

Also, bring up these issues with your child's pediatrician. Ask him/her to get you a referral to someone that can help you with your child's behavioral issues. Most medical insurances will cover neurological/neuropsychological testing when it is referred to by a medical doctor (pediatrician). Neuropsychological testing by the way is very different than psychological testing in that it is a medical (brain dysfunction) based assessment.

I will be sending good vibes your way that you can get answers.

I am posting a lot about my daughter's updates with testing if you click on "my online journal" in my signature. If nothing else, you may find something helpful, or at least feel like someone in the world understands what you are going through.

And I want to be bold and suggest that you need support just as much as your daughter does. I can say with wholehearted certainty that the worries you have with your daughter are affecting you deeply. Now that I am getting help with my daughter, a lot of my anxiety and even anger (at having to deal with the same issues over and over and over again) is dissipating. Having to handle everything on my own was truly affecting my mental health.

Oh, and I would like to suggest supplementing with magnesium (for both you and your daughter). I have read that there is a strong link between anxiety and depression and a magnesium deficiency. Our food supply (at least here in the US, is woefully lacking in enough vitamins and trace minerals).

I hope I have helped some.

Big hugs to you mama.

Mama of 3 girls: 7.5 , 6 , and 4.5
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#52 of 58 Old 04-18-2008, 11:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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And as far as mental health issues being "all in your head", well, um, yes, where else would they be, in your toe?

Oh, and by the way, I've heard similar arguments made by members of certain churches, and they take it even farther to say that all mental health disorders are due to not being faithful enough. But then they will turn around and take medicine for their diabetes, heart issues, etc. Why is it that those things aren't all in their heads?

Okay that was being facetious. But honestly, most if not all mental health issues have a physiological basis in the brain. Either there is sensory issues going on, or the brain is interpreting the information wrong (there is such a thing as dyslexia - both visual dyslexia and auditory dyslexia too), or there is chemical imbalances (too much or too little of a critical ingredient), or there are misfiring of neurotransmitters. Even undetected seizure activity can cause issues.

Please please please, try to understand that even if your husband doesn't believe you now, someone knows exactly what you are going through. I understand, and I know it's hard. It's also draining to worry so much about your child and feel so powerless to help her.

But if you start taking steps to get answers, you will feel more and more confident. You will also find support you need to stay strong for your baby.

Mama of 3 girls: 7.5 , 6 , and 4.5
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#53 of 58 Old 04-18-2008, 08:49 PM
 
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Thanks for your response. I had a lengthy conversation with the early intervention person and they won't provide services for her because they don't operate in the summer and she is entering school in the fall. She said it would be better to wait until her Kindergarten screening which is in a few weeks and see how she does and go from there.

I just got a book from our interlibrary loan about selective mutism and I know for sure it is what she has. She has the freezing up, the severe seperation porblems, every single thing in the book almost. There is no doubt in my mind. My husband saw me reading it and said, "oh geez, not that again, That is just some bullshit diagnosis for phsycologists to make money off, and drug companies..blah blah blah. She'll be fine"

Basically I am just taking matters into my own hands, if she will not respond at all during the screning I am going to set up a meeting with the principal to discuss this and make sure she is with a teacher who can handle it and will work with me. I am going to ask the teacher if she would be willing to come to our home to meet Emma where she feels comfortable, seat her in the back of the class, allow her to use hand signals, and not be forced to speak. I am also going to see about only taking her to school mon/wed/fri or half days or some revised schedule if it is too much for her.

everyone in my church supports us and understands why I stay in the nursery for children's church, they all say hello, but don't expect her to talk back. The only person she will speak with in church is our pastor, for some reason she has taken a real liking to him.. They are all helping her and I and supporting our efforts to make her feel comfortable, like letting her choose where she would like to sit, not putting her on the spot, ect.. Ironically, my husband does not attend with us and does not see how she is, even with all these wonderful people she has known for over a year and should be more than relaxed with.. He has never really seen her in a situation like that. He has no idea what trauma school will be to her.

He is VERY anti homeschooling but he knows how adamant I am that if she has a total freakout meltdown I will not be leaving her at school. He said I have one year to help her get over this and one year only. So we are continuing on with registration and the intent of trying school, but if it is too much for her, I have one year to help her out. I will be seeking the help of therapists and such if it comes to that.. It is all a wait and see game for now...

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#54 of 58 Old 04-18-2008, 09:00 PM
 
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Oh, I wanted to add I am in the US.. I don't have her in preschool because I run a daycare and preschool and had no way to transport her.. She talks with all the kids and adults no problem. She may be shy the first time she meets them, but will warm up within a day. She is very smart and reading almost as well as her brother in first grade, adding up to 20, knows her address, ties her shoes, ect. I figured she was too advanced for preschool anyhow, she would be bored stiff in a regular preschool. I always could add extra challenges ect or she could go play in her room if she got bored.

When we leave the house it is a different story. We tried swimming lessons, gymnastics and karate. After a few lessons in karate she did participate but rarely spoke. The teacher was a dad of one of my daycare boys and also my guitar teacher, so she saw him often at our house. She was a little more comfortable with him than the swimming instructors. I also had the gymnastic coach come do a few lessons at my home for the daycare and Emma spoke to her here, but not when we did the lessons out of our home..

She perplexes me..LOL

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#55 of 58 Old 04-19-2008, 11:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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It seems like you have a good plan then.

What happens after the year of trying to help her? Why is he giving you some sort of ultimatum?

You don't have to drug your child by the way. And a neuropsychological evaluation is NOT the same as a psychological/psychiatric evaluation. It is a medically based evaluation. It combines knowledge of neurological function of the brain with psychology. It's not the "sit on my couch and we'll talk about your problems". They use scientifically based methods to determine what capacity the brain is working at. Like for my dd, they are giving her tests to see that she can comprehend language as well as a 7 year old.

If there was something wrong with your husband's heart, wouldn't he seek out a heart specialist? If he had diabetes, high blood pressure wouldn't he take medicine for that?

I never understand why it's so easy for men to comprehend that there can be something physically wrong with a person's body in every other place, but when it comes to brain function - there is no way they admit that something needs to be done about it.

Why is he so resistant in at least trying to help his own child? Does he want her to suffer?

When it comes time for the school, I would lay all the cards on the table. I would tell the school that your husband is adamant that there is nothing wrong with your daughter but stubbornness. The public schools are mandated to getting help for your child. Even if early intervention isn't able to help, the public school system has to provide you with something. The whole No Child Left Behind Act ensures that the struggling students have to have their needs met. If her selective mutism is affecting her success in school, then it becomes the school's responsibility to help you get the help she needs.

I don't know about your school district, but here, we also have 2 year programs called TK-1 (or something like that) for students that need extra help. They are smaller class sizes, and work on social issues and they go at a slower rate to help the child have more success in school. It's designed for those students that need extra academic and social preparedness. By the time they complete the program, they go into first grade and they are fully adjusted into the first grade, but they have an extra year to mature and develop before they get into the academic grind of school.

Does your school district have something like that? You can also ask to speak with your school if they are familiar with selective mutism. I was surprised to find out my friends who are teachers say that they have students who are selectively mute in their schools and they are being worked with by the staff (getting help from outside as well as from the Speech and Language Specialist at school).

I hope your husband will come around.

Mama of 3 girls: 7.5 , 6 , and 4.5
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#56 of 58 Old 04-22-2008, 09:13 PM
 
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Well she actually stayed down in children's church tis week and talked. Only to the man, not the lady. She seems to speak to men easier than women. Especially the guys at church, they are silly and act like kids..LOL

So it was a big exciting weekend for us. My son's baseball practice started and she played on the playground without me by her side and said "this will be my school soon!!!" and she was excited. I hope this good streak keeps going. Now that the weather is nice we can go to parks and get her more exposure to strangers and other kids she is not used to.

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#57 of 58 Old 04-23-2008, 11:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Well she actually stayed down in children's church tis week and talked. Only to the man, not the lady. She seems to speak to men easier than women. Especially the guys at church, they are silly and act like kids..LOL

So it was a big exciting weekend for us. My son's baseball practice started and she played on the playground without me by her side and said "this will be my school soon!!!" and she was excited. I hope this good streak keeps going. Now that the weather is nice we can go to parks and get her more exposure to strangers and other kids she is not used to.
Sounds like a great plan.

Just be prepared for some anxiety just prior to the start of school. My dd2 wanted so much to go to school for the entire year before she actually went, then during the 2 weeks before school, she started telling me she didn't want to ever leave me. Even though she had a rough go of it the first few weeks, she does really ENJOY school and the friends she has made. She talks all the time about them when she's at home.

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#58 of 58 Old 04-23-2008, 07:10 PM
 
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She is so excited to go, but when the time comes to do it, I think she is going to get scared. She is that way every sunday. She tells me she can't wait for children's church, but them clings to me.. She really enjoys it when she just relaxes and lets herself have fun.

There is still a few more months until school with lots of time to grow and mature, so we'll see..

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