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Unable to speak to do a class presentation - help?!!

(8 Posts)
soontobeslendergirl Fri 28-Feb-14 16:32:29

I already posted this in teenagers so I'll post my original question plus some updates from answers received.

Sorry it might be v long but hopefully someone will be able to help.

13 and a half year old No1 son is very quiet and shy. We've been trying to work with him on his confidence and social anxiety and he is getting better, very slowly. After some bullying issues when he was younger we were told that he may be borderline Aspergers. He has never been tested as he seemed to be coping much better by that point and it didn't seem worth it for a probable borderline diagnosis.

Anyway - we recently found out (as part of the confidence and anxiety workbook) that when he had to do a presentation last year in class at school, he stood in front of the class and didn't speak at all (he says for 10 minutes, but I am pretty sure it wouldn't have been that long). Recently at parents night his teacher was saying that the next thing they would be doing was a presentation to the class. I told her what we had found out about him not speaking the year before and she said she wasn't aware of that.

Anyway, without wanting to put him too much on the spot, he has now told me that this is coming up. I asked if he was anxious about it and he said "No" . I said that was good and he then told me that he wasn't anxious as basically he was going to do the same again and just not speak!

Obviously while he may see that as an ok thing to do, his teacher told us he will not pass any English qualification without being able to do the presentation bit.

He won't practice anything in front of us and obviously we can google and give him tools and techniques to help him give a presentation but I still believe he will not do it.

Anyone help?

soontobeslendergirl Fri 28-Feb-14 16:32:46

We have got to the point where he is happy to speak to his friends but not to initiate a conversation. He very rarely initiates a conversation even at home. I've asked if he would like to practice it for me or in front of a mirror but he says "No". I don't think he likes looking at himself at all. I like the idea of him recording it, I will ask him (and his teacher) if that would be an option. He can initiate speaking to people over the phone (i think he feels more comfortable if they can't see him). To be honest, neither me or his dad were comfortable doing that sort of thing either so it's not a surprise that he wouldn't enjoy it. Strangely No2 son is in the debating club and is in the class play (we think he was switched at birth!).

I will google selective mutism, thank you, but my feeling is that he is just very very shy - whatever that actually means

soontobeslendergirl Fri 28-Feb-14 16:33:15

He was reasonably chatty this evening so I got him on to the subject of the talk. He says that he didn't feel particularly anxious (though i had to explain what that would feel like so I'm not sure if he really knew what I was getting at) he said he just was unable to speak. I explained that he will have to do it and that as an adult he will have a choice about getting into situations where he has to give public speeches, but unfortunately as a child/student, he doesn't really.

I've asked if he wants to speak to the teacher about it or if he is happy for me to and he says he is happy for me to. I've asked him if he would be interested in recording his speak to be played in the class if the teacher agrees, he said that would feel weird but was prepared to give it a try. I asked what he thinks will happen if he speaks, he said that he knows nothing bad will happen. he isn't scared that the class or teacher will laugh or anything, he just can't speak. I asked if it was to a smaller group could he do it, he said he didn't know but then said that it would also depend who was in the group.

I've looked up selective mutism and actually that might be something. In class, he will answer a question if he is asked but will never ever volunteer an answer. He has always been the same. He was assessed by speech and language therapy when he was younger (for a different reason - he was staring out the window a lot and not engaging in the class) they concluded that he had a high level of language skill and was mostly bored. he would finish his work, drift off while waiting on everyone else and then find it difficult to focus back again when required.

So, the upshot is that I will try to get hold of his teacher tomorrow and make her aware of the situation and see where we go from here.

soontobeslendergirl Fri 28-Feb-14 16:33:53

I contacted the school and the teacher was unavailable. I asked for an email address for the teacher and they wouldn't give me one - I can understand why. Anyway they asked me to email the school and ask for her to contact me or give me her email address if she chooses which I have done.

I was back in the house for 30 seconds before he asked me if I had managed to speak to his teacher. sad

Could he do the presentation in the form of a Q&A session. So he prepares a series of questions and answers, the teacher asks him the question and he speaks the answer to the class. He is still standing up and presenting information but without the "giving a presentation format".

I've been to plenty of conferences where there are these sort of Q&A set ups especially if there is a panel of experts so its a valid way to get information accross.

soontobeslendergirl Fri 28-Feb-14 19:47:59

That's a good idea Chazs - I really don't know if anything is going to be acceptable to the teacher until I speak to her - hopefully they will get back to me on Monday as son thinks the presentations are starting next week. I don't want him to think that he can go through life not doing things just because they are difficult or uncomfortable, but I think he does need some help to get going.

Methren Fri 28-Feb-14 20:55:44

Would he be allowed to record the presentation at home (video or audio) and then play it while he stood at the front of the class? Then he is still giving a presentation in his own words, but just not "live".

soontobeslendergirl Fri 28-Feb-14 21:11:01

yes Methren, that was suggested on the other thread - I am going to ask. He thinks it might be weird but didn't dismiss the idea out of hand.

He was supposed to be getting support for his social anxiety issues but since he's gone to High school no-one has even mentioned it - we haven't chased because he seemed to be doing a lot better. No-one told us about the incident last year or passed the info on to his new teacher as far as we can see.

I am not very happy but trying not to jump to any conclusions until I've spoken to them properly.

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