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When a Child Will Not Speak? Mute?

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When a Child Will Not Speak? Mute?

Postby Rachel G » Sat Nov 09, 2013 7:12 am

I'm just wondering what is the diagnosis when a child decides to become mute but only in school and around strangers but will speak when around close friends and family? What is it and why does it happen?
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Re: When a Child Will Not Speak? Mute?

Postby Yorkshirelass » Sat Nov 09, 2013 4:21 pm

IMO because they maybe have a controlling, over protective narcissistic family that has made them fearful and anxious of the outside world.
We are the only ones you can trust, keep the family's business private, don't trust others, it all about us 'the family'.
The worse the parents, the more unloving they are, can make children more clingy to their parents not less as shown in this experiment.
http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/traumatic-bonding
So you get a child that is desperately trying to ingratiate themselves with 'mother' desperately trying to make mother love them, whilst being terrified of the scary out side world. I mean, if mothers nasty, the outside world must be very nasty and unkind, right?
In other words, the child from their limited experience of life with a neglectful parent have been given no reason to trust anyone.
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Re: When a Child Will Not Speak? Mute?

Postby tallis » Mon Nov 18, 2013 6:39 pm

Hi,
The name of what you are looking for is "selective mutism". It is generally an anxiety based problem, although the child can not usually put in to words, what is wrong or what is causing it.
I suffered from this as a young child, I remember dealing with it at the age of 4. Although I would deal with social phobias, ocd, and some other stuff, as I got older, the selective mutism got better with out any "treatment", although public speaking can still put me right back there. As an adult, I still waiver trying to introduce myself to a room full of people, but manage to power through it, (because I have to).
Here is what I would suggest for the child (not sure of the age).
Do not focus on it, this makes it worse, they have a hard enough time trying to speak with out being made to feel like they are "bad" for not speaking. Most times they don't know why they "just cant".
Keep your eyes open for other signs of anxiety, ocd type behaviors.
Encourage drawing, writing, and allowing the child to observe situations (even without partaking) as much as they are comfortable with.
Selective mutism often feels like all eyes are on you, judging you, laughing at you. Its common to just freeze. (its not controllable). Let the child know its OK to freeze, not the end of the world, maybe some grounding techniques?
Patience is necessary, as is NOT JUDGING.
Often children feel not as judged by animals, having a child read to dogs is a good way to build confidence. Maybe talk to your local animal shelter. Reading to a "stranger" dog, might help, as opposed to a well known pet.
People who struggle with this as a child can and do lead normal productive lives!
Maybe , depending on the age, let them know that other people deal with it too, and it works out just fine. I know I felt like I was the only one, which made anxiety worse.
Wish I had more for you, but know that this , although a challenge, can turn out ok.
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