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Do you have any tips for me to encourage my ds 4.8 to SPEAK??

(14 Posts)
BlackEyedDog Thu 14-Aug-08 11:33:55

Well that really. He starts reception September.

At home he is very lively, mad about Spongebob, Spiderman, full of imaginative play. He's lovely. But at Kindergarten he can hardly bring himself to speak to anyone, though the kids and teachers are super. He is very self conscious and embarrassed when people talk to him.

Do you have any ideas for me? I'm a bit lost on this. I don't want him to start school and not be able to make new friends because of this. sad

misdee Thu 14-Aug-08 11:38:40

dont make an issue of it. dont ask him to speak up, or force him to speak.

i was silent at school and in public for many years. i had friends.

maybe contact senco/salt and see what they say as well.

jelliebelly Thu 14-Aug-08 11:41:22

Maybe he just isn't much of a talker - my brother was/is like this but it never seemed to stop him making friends or finding girlfriends! I wouldn't make an issue of it tbh as that could just make it worse. Unless you think there might be a particular development problem I think you just have to accept that that's how he is

savoycabbage Thu 14-Aug-08 11:43:50

I once taught a child who was an 'elective mute' as it was called then. I had her for a year and she never spoke to me once! She would talk very quietly to other children in the classroom and would yell her head off in the playground. Apparently she was a chatterbox at home but we could not get her to utter a word. We tried everything. She was year three when I had her.

One day the head heard her yelling 'fuck off' (it was quite a rough school) in the playground and hauled her into the office! After that the head made her talk to her by telling her she had to and this worked better than any of the gently, gently tactics employed by us!

BlackEyedDog Thu 14-Aug-08 11:43:56

thanks misdee. Who are senco/salt?

I try not to make an issue over it, but is hard when people speak to him and he doesn't answer when I am there - you know, prompting him to answer. He should at least learn basic politeness shouldn't he?


BlackEyedDog Thu 14-Aug-08 11:45:45

lol savoy, I suspect that might work for him too

savoycabbage Thu 14-Aug-08 11:47:22

I know! I couldn't believe it.

misdee Thu 14-Aug-08 11:49:19

that wouldnt have worked for me. that would've scared me into slence for longer.

there wasnt a physical eason why i couldnt speak at school, just a fear of talking. i was told i was rude by people. i wasnt, i just couldnt actually talk. it was like someone had tied my tongue to the roof of my mouth.

BlackEyedDog Thu 14-Aug-08 12:05:20

misdee, can you think of anything that might have made you happier to speak? Is it a trust thing?

I just googled 'elective mutism'. Sounds a lot like him, but hate to put a label on him. I just don't want him to go for years of school without fullfilling his potential because of this.

Sorry, I know how impatient I sound. Thing is, my sister was the same but has remained so into adulthood, which has ruined her life (no exaggeration). I don't want this for him.

misdee Thu 14-Aug-08 12:31:30

no i cant think of anything. even at secndry i was quiet and school reports said 'would like misdee to participate more in class discussions' but i couldnt do it.

as i have gotton older i have found talking to people easier. i hae even been on tv talking as well, and although people sad i looked calm and professional, at the timei was shaking insde and totally scared. after one recording, i had to go and have a cup of sweet tea it was thescariest thing i;ve ever done.

BlackEyedDog Thu 14-Aug-08 12:45:10

finding your experience very encouraging misdee. Most people I know (inc me) would baulk at doing tv. smile

misdee Thu 14-Aug-08 12:47:21

was just a couple of news pieces for dh and highlighting the need for organ donors. i was absolutly petrified, and tried to leave the room several times.

lingle Mon 18-Aug-08 22:52:22

Qute a few of the kids will be quiet in the first term, so he won't fall too far behind at first even if there's a problem. Maybe arrange to talk to the teacher in November. He may surprise you! And the teacher may have good strategies too.

I understand your point about your sister because of own family experience with another issue.

a SALT is a speech and language therapist. Your local SALTS may do drop-in sessions or at least be contactable by phone. Try to find them via your health visitor.

The biggest charity for speech problems is at ( I think ).

"labels" for these things are indeed controversial so be aware it's a bit of a minefield and the professionals are involved in their own debates.

BlessThisMess Mon 18-Aug-08 23:30:54

Please don't just leave this - it won't just 'get better on its own'. It sounds like he has selective mutism, which my daughter has. It is an anxiety condition. It is vitally important that you realise he is not being rude, and you can't push him to be polite. He is terrified and too anxious to speak. Like Misdee said, you need to REMOVE ALL PRESSURE to speak. The aim is to reduce his anxiety - when his anxiety is low enough, he will be able to speak (like he does at home). Check out and You can probably refer him yourself to your local speech and language therapist and the best book to buy is the Selective Mutism Resource Manual which sets out very clearly exactly how his school needs to treat him to help him lower his anxiety and move towards speaking freely. Good luck.

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