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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What kind of therapy did you find helped?<br><br>
My three year old has been in speech for a while and has made huge progress. She is a real chatter bug at home. She is in preschool (a great place) and is happy there, but in the three months since school started she has not uttered a single word.<br><br>
She doesn't talk in most social settings and has to be very comfortable to open her mouth, but she never stops talking at home. It isn't just school.<br><br>
Her speech therapist thinks that we are dealing with selective mutisim but thinks that we need to get a psychiatrist/psychologist involved and that it isn't a speech issue at this point.<br><br>
She goes to preschool so happily and comes home happy too. She would hate to be pulled out but I am wondering if that would be best.<br><br>
She doesn't talk in most social settings and has to be very comfortable to open her mouth, but she never stops talking at home.<br><br>
I have a toddler with special needs who takes up a lot of my time so it is nice having dd3 out in a school that she loves. I don't have to take her to as many doctors appointments and therapies this way.<br><br>
Who has dealt with this and what did you find to help?<br><br>
Thank you!
 

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*I* have not dealt with this personally. However, I do konw someone who has. Her daughter would speak well and confidently at home, but would not/could not speak in public. In their case, a one-on-one aid was helpful in the preschool setting, and they also have worked hard to help reduce her overall anxiety levels in social/public situations, which was I think what helped the most for them. They also discovered during their initial processing of everything that Mom was "covering" a lot for her, and acting as too much of a crutch. They gently removed that over time, and have seen slow improvement as a result. What else? I think they've done horseback riding with her as well, and put her in smaller group settings where speaking isn't so threatening for her.
 

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There are two mamas on this forum that I know of (Brigianna and Yours Truly Me) who received this diagnosis as children. In my case, it resolved itself by aged 12-13, with occasional "bad patches" even now that I can totally work around. I don't know Brigianna's story with it.
 

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I have selective mutism (a much kinder term than "elective" mutism, which erroneously implies that the condition is a choice). Since I was about 10, I have mostly been able to control it and anticipate mute moments, and prepare accordingly.<br><br>
I would advise very strongly against involving a psychologist or mental health person. The assumption of the mental health industry is that selective mutism is caused by anxiety, and that anxiety of a child which is so strong it inhibits verbal communication is best treated, of course, by being interrogated for hours on end by a strange adult. It's a harsh and painful treatment for a condition your child will most likely grow out of anyway (or at least learn to manage).
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Brigianna</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9914990"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">[The] anxiety of a child which is so strong it inhibits verbal communication is best treated, of course, by being interrogated for hours on end by a strange adult.</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br><br>
Can I marry you? Or.... wait... be your submissive sister-wife, or whatever it's called?
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Individuation</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9915704"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br><br>
Can I marry you? Or.... wait... be your submissive sister-wife, or whatever it's called?</div>
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Marry you? And go through <i>another</i> wedding? I love you, but no.<br><br>
(after our wedding, I turned to my husband and said "please don't ever make me go through that again.")<br><br>
Although, oblique references to other threads are definitely sexy.<br><br><br>
ETA: wait, must keep this on topic... OP, if your selectively mute child ever gets married, advise her to do it at city hall.
 

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My son has no DX for selective mutism but he has gone through periods of this. He did not talk to his OT (for sensory issues not selective mutism) for like 3 months, and now he finally talks but he does a baby talk/cartoonish or copies her voice or someone elses.. whatever is in his mind at that time.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> With other people he is getting better, but still does alot of copying with people he does not see on a regular basis. But, he was really bad for awhile and now seems to be getting better.<br><br>
By the way he has a huge vocabulary and is a chatter box at home.<br>
His OT would listen to him in the bathroom with me, so she actually knew he DID indeed talk.
 

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I don't think Orthodox Jewish women have to say anything at the wedding. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/headscratch.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="headscratch"> Thinking. Been so long since I've been to a wedding. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/bag.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Bag">:<br><br>
Anyway.<br><br>
Liba, I've heard from other parents that selective mutism is best treated with time and kindness and AVOIDING psychXYZ. I tend to agree. There may be some kinds of OT that would be helpful though.<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/hug2.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Hug2">
 

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My dd was diagnosed with selective mutism when she was 3. I'm not certain that's what it was, since she's more or less grown out of it by 5, although the base problem is still there. It is more than shyness or even just anxiety.<br><br>
She said nothing for the first year of preschool. Her communication skills are severely impaired however, so I wonder how much was a confidence thing for her. At home, she'd talk. But nowhere else. Her second year of preschool, when she was 4, she started whispering a word here or there to certain trusted teachers. This turned into echolalia and one word answers, very quiet. By the end of that year, she was even saying whole, out of context sentences here and there in class, but still not really participating in the diaglogue.<br><br>
She still doesn't talk much in school or where she is not familiar. I don't know what causes it.<br><br>
What worked for dd, given that she may not truly have selective mutism, was just patience, including her in therapies, and getting her comfortable with the teachers and therapists. She did speech therapy by working on things like pointing or observing groups of kids. Therapists would give me work to do with her at home. One on one in the classroom elicited better responses than group work. She also did great when we had a therapist come into our home. It took her far less time to warm up, and soon treated the therapist like one of the family.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
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<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Brigianna</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9915900"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
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ETA: wait, must keep this on topic... OP, if your selectively mute child ever gets married, advise her to do it at city hall.</div>
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LOL at least in orthodox Jewish weddings the bride just agrees by holding out her finger for the ring and accepting the marriage document. She should be okay with that I hope, especially since she is veiled.<br><br>
So no psych. I can hear that. I can't see how it would do much since there is no way she would talk to them. Even her speech therapist, who she loves and has worked with since she was a baby, she couldn't talk to her last couple sessions. We stopped speech because she is doing so well and we were thinking about stopping anyway before she stopped talking there.
 

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<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Brigianna</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9914990"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I have selective mutism (a much kinder term than "elective" mutism, which erroneously implies that the condition is a choice). Since I was about 10, I have mostly been able to control it and anticipate mute moments, and prepare accordingly.<br><br>
I would advise very strongly against involving a psychologist or mental health person. The assumption of the mental health industry is that selective mutism is caused by anxiety, and that anxiety of a child which is so strong it inhibits verbal communication is best treated, of course, by being interrogated for hours on end by a strange adult. It's a harsh and painful treatment for a condition your child will most likely grow out of anyway (or at least learn to manage).</div>
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So what causes it? Or what causes it in your case? I know so little about this and just believed the anxiety thing, but would really love to learn more from people who actually know what they're talking about!
 

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Charlotte was never diagnosed with SM. I don't know that she had/has it, but I read about it a lot because I strongly suspected it. Her neurologist also mentioned it (well he said "elective mutism) as a possibility. She would talk up a storm at home, but outside of us and her SLP I don't think many people had even heard her voice. I think she knew for so long that talking was heard or just plain didn't work that she had quit talking at all (had to get that going for ST actually) and it took her a verrrrrrrrry long time to feel comfortable speaking in front of other people. With her I feel it was largely related to her general anxiety level.<br><br>
We didn't really do anything except give her time and space. We never tried to make her talk and would answer for her if we saw her being flustered if someone asked her a question. Finally after going to gymnastics and dance for almost a year her teachers actually heard her say something in class (she would whisper things to me before that). Suddenly around August/September of this year (a year after she really started talking at home) she started talking to new people immediately. Completely floored us and her SLP. Nothing else changed that we noticed, but she just sort of seemed able to do it suddenly. She still doesn't/can't talk to everyone in every situation, but I think she'll get there in her own time.<br><br>
LOL I did consider if we needed to see a psychologist or psychiatrist or someone about it, but didn't follow-up because I knew seeing someone to try to convince her to talk would just make her less willing and able to do it.
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Kay11</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9922266"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">So what causes it? Or what causes it in your case? I know so little about this and just believed the anxiety thing, but would really love to learn more from people who actually know what they're talking about!</div>
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In my case, it was a manifestation of my autism. Incidentally, as I understand it, today someone cannot be diagnosed with selective mutism if he also has an ASC; it's considered in that case to be part of the ASC package. So, when I was a kid, I was diagnosed with "elective mutism with autistic behaviors," but I think if I were a kid today, I would be diagnosed with "autism with selectively mute behavior."<br><br>
Anyway, standard verbal communication does not come naturally to me. Even when I'm not mute, I can have a hard time thinking of the right words, phrasing words correctly, using the words that best correspond to what I'm trying to express, and repeating words or using echolalia. Most of the time, I can compensate for this easily, but if I am tired, or under stress, or distracted, it becomes harder. So I might say the wrong thing, or have trouble remembering my words, or repeat a phrase over and over, or, under the right conditions, go mute altogether.<br><br>
As a young child, going mute was my most common "issue." I went through several years of not being able to speak to anyone at all outside my immediate family. Because it was considered "elective" and therefore a behavioral problem, I was of course given no accommodation and was attempted to be "trained" out of it by putting me in various situations designed to force me to talk. I remember my parents objected once, and the teacher said, "don't worry; when it hurts her enough, she'll talk"... but of course, selective mutism does not work that way...<br><br>
So then I more-or-less grew out of it, and throughout most of my teen and early adulthood years, I went mute very rarely, and when I did I could hide it. I did have some other, more subtle speech issues, but I could mostly hide those too. I started having more serious speech problems later when I started to have symptoms of fibromyalgia (~10 years ago, although I was only diagnosed recently) and at the same time developed chronic anxiety as a result of certain experiences. So now, I can usually talk without incident, but I have a few mutism lapses when other things are bothering me, or occasionally even when they aren't. But to an outsider, I would be considered a "recovered" selective mute.<br><br>
Okay, that's my selective mutism story... hope it makes sense, although I'm partially asleep... going to hit 'submit' anyway...
 

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Thanks for that. All made perfect sense, half asleep or not! It's been very thought provoking for me and that's always a good thing.
 

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My dd who is on the autism spectrum does this. She loves going to OT but hasn't spoken there in months, she does sometimes make 'eh eh' sounds to get attention there instead of talking. Her speech at home is going very well (she was started talking about 6 months ago) but she frequently does not talk in public. I find it very awkward in social situations where people try to talk to her and she doesn't respond. I don't want to explain, so usually I say she's tired, shy, etc. She does not receive speech therapy for numerous reasons, the first one being that she will talk at home but completely ignores if a ST tries to evaluate her. She does do a lot of repetitive speech also, but that isn't really something that I think ST is going to help. This is also one of the reasons we opted out of Developmental preschool for her. I'm so used to her not talking sometimes, that I really forget about it being 'abnormal'. I also have a lot of Asperger's type behaviors (as does my DH) so I try to be sensitive to letting her be who she is and not forcing things from her.
 

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I had selective mutism until I was halfway through kindergarten and then for the next five or six years, I would talk if forced to, but one or two word sentences. At home or with people I knew and was comfortable with, I would talk just like everyone else. My son was like that, but to a lesser degree. He was later diagnosed with Asperger's. Even now, he sometimes goes back to minor selective mutism. I think with both of us, being forced just made it worse and the less pressure to talk, the easier it was to start talking. Also, when we did talk, making a big deal about it was a major setback!
 
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