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DD age 6 has selective mutism does it get better ?

(15 Posts)
AramintaCane Wed 01-Jul-09 12:35:53

My DD year 1 is selectively mute. Do any of you have experience of this ? Does it get any better ?

Also i have a meeting with SENCO and new teacher this week. What should i say? The SENCO thinks she is just "silly and stubborn" but luckily she had a lovely teacher all year. I hope next year will be as good but could do with some help about how to explain her to the new teacher.

BoysAreLikeDogs Wed 01-Jul-09 12:48:15

shock at being labelled as silly and stubborn by a SENCO

How unprofessional


Have you been referred to a Child Pschyologist/ Peadriatrician?

She needs positive help and support not mocking and undermining, see your GP asap for a referral

angry angry

AramintaCane Wed 01-Jul-09 12:51:54

They tried to get speech therapy for her but were turned down. We paid for her to be seen privately by a Ed Pschychologist. The current teacher was brilliant and did everything she was advised and DD will now whisper to other kids. However this teacher is leaving and SENCO is very odd and grumpy. She is a very loud person herself and doesn't understad.

lljkk Wed 01-Jul-09 12:53:47

I know 2 boys nearing end of Yr3 & still stubbornly mute at school .
Some good old threads on this...

AramintaCane Wed 01-Jul-09 12:54:32

thanks for your response i will do a search

melissa75 Wed 01-Jul-09 16:51:29

Hiya...I have a girl in my class who was a selective mute in reception. She is now in year two. I did not really know much about her when she came into year one, but staff who worked with her said she still did not speak. By the end of Y1, she was speaking small amounts, and over the course of this year, (Y2), she has started speaking a lot more. She was also very low in confidence. If I said anything to her 6 months ago, good or bad, she burst into tears. This is no longer the case. Not to say she is high in confidence, as this is certainly not the case, but I can say things to her now that she will not get upset as a result. We found that ignoring what she was doing when she was getting unneccesarily upset worked well, as with her, we have found it was an attention seeking thing. She has become a lot more social now, and although will not go out of her way to interact with other children, she will do so if someone intiates the interaction.

Did the SENCO actually say to you she thought your DD was silly and stubborn? If so, I would take that further, as that is totally unprofessional.

AramintaCane Wed 01-Jul-09 17:29:42

Thenks melissa for your input. She did say that about DD but i don't really blame her, she had never experienced a case like her before. I would not like to take it further unless she repeats it. The teachers in general have been amazing. IT sounds like the girl you know is much worse and is getting better. That really gives me hope. My DD is doing very well acadmically and is quite confident and very popular with other kids. She never cries at school. She goes in very happily and says she loves it there. However, when she tries to speak nothing comes out. At home she is the loud one. Thanks so much for your help.

frogwatcher Wed 01-Jul-09 17:54:37

my sisters boy had selective mutism for a long while when he started school. Thinking back it was apparent from when he started talking as he would only talk when there were not any strangers or non family around. It was painful taking him for an ice cream or something as he couldnt tell you his choice and would get upset. He didnt talk to his teachers for a whole year when he started and the school was convinced he couldnt talk but my sister videoed him playing with other family children ordering them around. The teachers were amazed as he was so fluent and bossy and LOUD! He is now 10 and it has gradually got better to the extent that he can just about say a line or two in a school play. Being in a very small school appears to have helped as it has become an extended family, and although shy, he can talk to strangers in a mumble! Nobody had heard of it and my family had to do the research and tell the school, speech therapist and health visitor what it was. No help given whatsoever. Good luck as it is a frustrating thing to deal with and it is essential that everybody remembers that the child cant help it and it is worse for them.

AramintaCane Wed 01-Jul-09 18:13:55

wow frogwatcher thanks so much, saying a few words in a school play is beyond my wildest dreams at the moment. It is so good to know it can get better.

Littlefish Wed 01-Jul-09 18:42:49

I've taught a little girl who was selectively mute. We were in Yr 1. Basically, she was given the opportunity to speak, or not speak, without any pressure being put on her. The other children were never allowed to say "but she doesn't speak". I counted eye contact as speech to start with, and would praise her for this.

By the end of the year, she would read to me in a whisper and talk to me 1 to 1. I was delighted with her progress. smile

Littlefish Wed 01-Jul-09 18:43:49

Just a practical point - could her current teacher be at the meeting with the SENCO and new teacher too? She would be an ally for you, and would talk about the sort of strategies that have worked well this year.

AramintaCane Wed 01-Jul-09 18:59:19

great idea littlefish i will suggest this

frogwatcher Thu 02-Jul-09 12:59:15

I agree with Littlefish in that my nephew was never criticised for being mute. He was allowed to opt out of talking things and at sharing assemblies etc he was allowed to sit it out if he wanted. He was very gently encouraged a tiny step at a time - maybe to begin with, to walk into parent assembly with his class and sit down. Then another time to get up and sit on the edge of the stage as a static prop. And so on. It was so important to not push him so his confidence gradually improved without being knocked back. He gradually started to talk to his friends when teachers weren't around and he was extremely popular! He was just silent in lessons. He is a very bright, sporty young lad now. One of the biggest problems was ensuring that other staff in the school understood, like dinner ladies, as they could get frustrated with him. I have to say, my sister worked hard to get him supported and to keep the school off his back!

GrinnyPig Thu 02-Jul-09 13:22:33

DD1 was <probably> selectively mute. For lots of reasons we didn't seek any sort of diagnosis for her. We knew she could speak and just told people that she was very shy. She was late to speak, but once she started she was quite happy to speak to DH and I. She would also speak to other children who she got to know, but just couldn't speak to adults or children she didn't know. She is clever and has done well at school (she is currently in year 10 and is predicted all A* at GCSE, even including oral French - although she says that is over optimistic of her teachers).

I suppose we were lucky with her school because they just accepted that she was very quiet and so didn't force her to speak, but praised her written work. The change in her has been very gradual and her teachers still describe her as a quiet member of the class, but she never ceases to amaze me with her independence. She is always happy to volunteer for things she wants to do and it never bothers her if none of her friends are going to events etc.

At times it was very hard and sometimes it did feel as though she was just being stubborn, but really I knew she wasn't. I have no experience of SENCOs because, as I said, we didn't seek any diagnosis, but the SENCO at your DDs school sounds like an arse and if she continues with the same attitude I'd go straight to the head teacher.

AramintaCane Thu 02-Jul-09 13:38:22

grin at SENCO being an arse ! I needed to hear that. Your posts are so very helpful and encouraging. DD is also independant and bright despite being so quiet outside the house. Grinnypig you have given me hope for the future. Good luck to your daughter with the GCSEs.

Frogwatcher I will make sure i make that point about dinner ladies we have had issues there and I had forgotten.

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