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Introductions

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Introductions

Postby Dad2Three » Sun Mar 19, 2017 11:05 pm

Hello everyone,

Im searching for help for my 4.5yo daughter who isn't talking in preschool. We are looking for success stories and guidance and sharing our progress with the group.
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Re: Introductions

Postby Kirkykoo » Sat Apr 22, 2017 9:22 pm

Hi we are in exactly the same position as you.. How are you getting on? Any tips / advice would be gratefully received.
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Re: Introductions

Postby clairekitty » Thu Jun 01, 2017 3:52 am

I know this is way late, but I'm an adult who had selective mutism from age 4 to the time I had to drop out of college because of it (it still affects me today in certain situation, but I'm mostly alone all the time and don't go out much). The reason I never really got better is because I was not diagnosed or treated for it until I was 15.

If you have any questions, please feel free to private message me. Sometimes I think it's helpful to be able to understand SM through the eyes of someone who has actually experienced it and is able to explain what helps and what hurts.

I would suggest seeing a psychiatrist. Prozac decreased my anxiety levels A LOT and made it a lot easier to function at school without constantly being on the verge of panic. It's super important to make sure when your child starts school you meet with the disability coordinator at the school ahead of time to develop a 504 plan or an IEP. Some accommodations that helped me were having alternatives to class participation grade, making sure the teacher didn't put me on the spot or ask me a question during class, a pass to leave the class if it was too overwhelming and go to the school psychologist office, etc. Gym class was very difficult for me and just like my voice would freeze, my body would freeze and I couldn't participate. If this ends up being a problem for your child, maybe look into alternatives for gym class.

Other bits of advice: If your child finally does talk, don't make a big deal about it. It causes more anxiety and can be really embarrassing. Don't ever try to force or pressure your child into speaking...it won't work and will likely cause more anxiety. Positive reinforcement is a much better approach. Check out some articles and such from Dr. Elisa Shipon-Blum--she is excellent and has developed a treatment approach for SM and has opened a treatment center in Pennsylvannia called SMart Center.

I'm not super good with writing my thoughts, so I hope this was at least a little helpful. Again, if either of you have any questions or would like advice, please message me.
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Re: Introductions

Postby Dad2Three » Tue Jul 25, 2017 2:36 am

Thanks Kirkykoo & clairekitty.
The latest update is so far she seems less anxious but still isnt talking. Her pediatrician did recommend a psychologist and we are waiting for our first appt. We are hoping to learn more about how to help her and I will look for the articles by Dr. Elisa Shipon-Blum. We are already putting some of your suggestions to practice by not making a big deal or forcing her but it can be tough in cases where her friends don't understand why she won't say anything back to them.
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Re: Introductions

Postby mitfy » Mon Oct 02, 2017 1:02 am

I was diagnosed with selective mutism when I was 4. I'm now 16 and recovered. With therapy and lots of support and trust I was able to make friends, open up to others, and by middle school, talk to new people freely. Some people keep their SM until adulthood and don't recover until later in life, but I was lucky to be able to become verbal while still in school. I had tons of really bad anxiety during middle school, but I also got over that as well. I still get anxiety when it comes to presenting things in front of a classroom setting, but that I can probably work around, too. I'm a mentally ill teenager, so of course I still have things going on, but as far as SM goes, I'm verbal, have plenty of friends, and I'm overall successful. Your daughter can definitely recover as soon as I did if you give her the proper treatment, love, and care. :D

In my early years of elementary school I saw a therapist who slowly helped me open up to others and have an easier time talking to people. I recommend getting a therapist for your daughter to work with her at school and help her with social anxiety, as well as getting disability accommodations for her. I don't know how it might work in other countries, but in the US you can get her a 504 Plan. That way if she doesn't want to present something in front of the class or answer a questions or anything of the sorts, she cannot be forced to (because no matter how forced, SM will prevent her from speaking no matter what).

Also, I think you should be familiar with the symptoms of SM, even more obscure ones, so you can identify them if you see them. Also, like clairekitty said, really don't try to force her to do or say things that obviously make her uncomfortable. When I was little and would want a free cookie from the store, my dad would get upset with me if I couldn't say thank you to the employee and sometimes not let me at all, which reduced me to tears. And yeah, don't make a big deal out of her talking or making progress, either. Treat it as if it's normal and maybe give her a reward.

Be flexible and understanding. Don't make her feel like her disability is an inconvenience for you.
If she's like me, she might be very self conscious. People with SM are afraid of being put on the spot, being ridiculed, being laughed at, and have general anxiety issues. I would start crying at the dinner table just because my family would laugh at me for saying something "cute" (as anyone might) and I felt like I was being ridiculed.

Having SM as a child... there were things that I still remember and am affected by even to this day. It goes away, but things still linger. I'm awful with small talk (absolutely hate it) and tend to talk less when I'm anxious or in a bad mood. Still, I'm always improving, or at least I'd like to think.

Sorry that this was kind of all over the place! I wish your family the best of luck, and please don't hesitate to send me a private message if you have questions. :D
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Re: Introductions

Postby Holodeck » Mon Oct 02, 2017 1:27 am

@mitfy Welcome and thank you for that informative post!

There are many things people don't know about with selective mutism, and you covered a ton of them beautifully!

I'm mostly recovered of mine. One thing I had never thought of was how you mentioned being bad at small talk. I had never linked the two, since I can now be heard now when I speak.

Congratulations on recovering before adulthood too! Highschool is stressful enough as is! :D
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