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selective mutism - any experience with this?

(32 Posts)
Jokat Thu 06-Dec-12 22:30:30

My dd1 (just turned 4) has been in pre-school since the age of 2.5. After ten months, her key worker talked to me about her not ever having spoken to any of the children, even though she was happily talking to several of the teachers and also in the presence of the other children, only her speech was never directed at them.
She does have several normal friendships with girls and boys who are my friend's children and chats with them freely and chirpily.
The teachers at pre-school have tried everything they can think of, incl. sticker charts, forming very small groups for activities etc to get her to talk to other kids there. Last year, she did finally start talking to a little boy who loved her so much that he never gave up and talked at her endlessly until she "gave in". He was the only one, apart from a little girl who she talked to on a few occasions when the little boy wasn't there. He then went on to big school in September.
This school year she befriended a pair of twins, and while she played with them often, and they often held each others' hands, giggled, laughed and sat together, she did not speak to either of them until this week. (I was sooo happy, and so was she! grin) She mentions other children to me occasionally, but doesn't ever speak to them.
Anyway, I have been looking into selective mutism and she seems to tick quite a few boxes. Our occupational therapist (dd has got cp as well) has arranged for us to get onto the waiting list for speech and language therapy as I heard they would be the relevant people to get in touch with.
I would love to hear from anyone who has dealt with selective mutism before, to hear how and by whom it was diagnosed, who got involved to deal with the issue (speech and laguage therapists or educational psychologists?), and how your dc got supported in school if at all?
Thank you very much for reading. X

GregBishopsBottomBitch Mon 11-Mar-13 21:30:59

It was school that started it, because they had concerns (shes 5), so she got referred for hearing, paedatrics and Speech and Language Therapy, hearing was fine, Paed Doc said he could see nothing wrong with her, like autism and the like, S and L person, went to see her at school, and has written in report that is what my DD has, so hopefully now it she can get the help she needs, but right now, since its a diagnosis was a week ago, not much has been done yet, hopefully the school will have a better idea of how to deal with her, because at homes shes fine with me.

GregBishopsBottomBitch Mon 11-Mar-13 21:34:30

Also, my daughter will talk happily to children and certain adults, but she doesnt like talking to alot of adults, it makes her really stressed and tense.

cilldara Mon 11-Mar-13 21:37:18

Have used the approaches in this manual with great success with 4/5 year olds I have taught over the years.

Jokat Mon 11-Mar-13 22:07:01

That's good to hear Greg. It's nice to see that your dd's school is being pro-active and wants to help, whithout someone making them, iykwim. Looks like I'm on the right path. DD had her hearing checked for the first few years of her life, but was eventually discharged a while ago. Our community peadiatrician sees her regularly as she was very premature and can't see any other problem going on, and we now have an appointment in late April to see a SaLT.

Thank you cilldara, I'll have a look at the link.

Jokat Mon 11-Mar-13 22:21:38

Just ordered the book, it has certainly got very impressive reviews!

SummerRainIsADistantMemory Mon 11-Mar-13 22:30:16

Up until she was 4 dd never spoke a single word to anyone apart from family. She went through playschool never saying a word to teachers, although she did gradually start speaking to classmates towards the end.

She came out of herself in school, although she's 8 now and teachers still describe her as very shy and quiet and she has to be prompted to speak in social situations.

Selective mutism is sometimes best treated by not being treated iyswim? Drawing attention to it can just intensify the fear for the child. Often the best approach is just to ignore it and try and boost confidence in other ways.

Jokat Tue 12-Mar-13 15:49:01

Today, dd spoke to a little girl at pre-school (someone other than the twin girl), yay!!! She had mentioned her a lot recently and I had just arranged a playdate with her mother for next week. I am convinced that knowing this girl will play with her outside pre-school has given her the needed courage, for whatever reason! I'm so happy grin

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