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Anyone else got an aspie who also has selective mutism?

(9 Posts)
ilikemysleep Mon 05-Nov-12 22:54:04

Hi all
My 11 year old son is a typical aspie - minecraft devotee, pedantic, great sense of word play, loves puns and jokes, has a small group of friends with whom he relates well. He is also selectively mute. We have known for ages that he 'closes down' in certain circumstances but we thought that selective mutism had to be pervasive - a child who won't talk at all in school to anyone. We have recently learned however that Sleepy1's particular difficulties can be understood as selective mutism. Do any of your kids do / have they done this stuff?

DS talks fine to other kids if they are either his friends, or total strangers. He is quieter and awkward with 'acquaintance' children (eg kids in his class who aren't his friends) but will speak with them a bit, most of the time.

He is fine at saying lines in plays etc - really loud, no issues.

He is fine at answering direct questions related to work from teachers - eg if they asked what is 6 x7 or what the answer to a particular question is.

However if he is asked anything that requires an opinion or strays away from work by a teacher (or other adult, except a very few he is confident with) he clams up completely. He can change within a second - eg will be working with the SALT on answering questions in a task with pics of pets - no problems - and she'll add in 'Do you have a pet?' and he'll look away, withdraw, no answer at all...

How has anyone tackled this (if anyone has a kid with this specific of an issue). We can see it's to do with anxiety around answers where there isn't a correct answer or where he has to give of himself socially to a stranger or offer an opinion. It can appear very rude as it is so specific - if it was more pervasive it would be more obviously unintentional or anxiety based, IYKWIM? He is 11 now and still won't relaibly greet or say goodbye to people - even family members....it seems so stuck somehow!

Any ideas?
Anyone empathise?!

parsnipcake Mon 05-Nov-12 23:05:53

My daughter is autistic and selectively mute. She chats at home but will only speak at school to answer a question, and in a social context will not speak at all but will smile or point. It's definitely anxiety based. I have no clue how to help, but it doesn't bother her so she's not motivated to do anything to change it. There was an interesting 'house of tiny tearWays about it where they used voice copying toys, but it didn't work for us. So empathy but no suggestions here

wasuup3000 Mon 05-Nov-12 23:19:43

So he is Ok with predictable speech where he knows what to say ie lines or he knows for a fact what the answer to a sum is. This is because there is less pressure, he knows what to say or he knows for sure what the answer is.

It is much harder and a lot more pressure to talk about himself/family and to answer open ended questions because that then requires more unknown communication elements. It is why saying hi or bye is so hard because both can lead on to other communication.

SMIRA have a website and fb group and some children also have ASD as well as selective mutism on there.

Strongecoffeeismydrug Mon 05-Nov-12 23:39:32

DS has autism but is selective mute only around children,he will answer basic questions or talk to object demands to adults occasionally.
He will copy children playing ect but never talks to them.

sazale Mon 05-Nov-12 23:47:16

I have a 5 year old ds like this! He's not diagnosed with anything (yet) but is currently under asessment to find the cause of his anxiety.

The SALT that did his initial observations thought Aspie/HFA (I already have a 13 year old dd Aspie) but the home visit was inconclusive. I'm also not sure but I know there's something going on!

We have school observation next week so hopefully we may get some answers. He barely speaks in school and when he does it's none conversational just the essential and very quiet. He's more likely to speak to a peer but will stop if he knows a teacher can see him.

He will also not speak to his aunties if he sees them out of their or our home. No conversation with the majority of adults unless they're in our home.

HotheadPaisan Tue 06-Nov-12 07:37:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HotheadPaisan Tue 06-Nov-12 07:42:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Tue 06-Nov-12 07:47:24

ilikemysleep DS1 is also 11, nearly 12, and is exactly the same. He will only answer direct questions from teachers or adults outside me and DH if he definately knows the answer and it is short. If he is asked an open-ended question he is unable to answer and remains silent. He will parrot the 'correct' answer or say nothing. He will talk to familiar peers at school but becomes extremely quiet in other contexts - eg parents plus 3DC DS1 and DS2 share classes with at a BBQ at home. At home he never shuts up!

The selective mutism has been worse recently but that might be because as he gets older adults address their questions to him because it would be impolite to talk about him as if he wasn't there. It might also be because the failed transition from primary to secondary and the assessment have meant contact with numerous proffs who insist on trying to communicate with him. This makes him more anxious about meeting new adults as he is painfully aware that he is unable to answer their questions.

Sorry I don't have any answers - yet. Social stories address the concerns but I can't find any that DS relates to. The f2f support group teaches how to write social stories and would love to take advantage but can't with DS at home at the moment.

When he was younger it was easier as there were less social expectations and I could always count on him to be the 'perfect' child in public as he was so closed down he became extremely passive and compliant (and silent). tbh at times it was a relief from his exausting behaviour at home (guilt emoticon).

ilikemysleep Tue 06-Nov-12 08:04:04

Thanks everyone - so no-one has a magic cure then? grin

I don't think social stories work as it's not that he doesn't know what to do and needs an explanation - he knows what the expectations are but can't handle the anxiety. He's also very bright and 'sees through' them...

We have specialist SALT on board and are having a meeting end of Nov in school (he's never seen an ed psych except me ;) ) so I will keep you informed as to the plan.

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