Parents with Children with Selective Mutism

Updated on March 24, 2011
C.G. asks from Fort Gratiot, MI
13 answers

Ok I have twins daughters that will be 7 and they have been diagnosed with selective mutism. Which means they can talk but they choose to whom. Its an aniexty disorder. They are in the first grade and have never talked in school. We thought they were just shy. Matter of fact it was their teachers that mention selective mutism. So I looked it up, started them in counseling, had the meeting with the social worker at school so on and so on. I just want to hear from other parents their experiences, what works, what they did, how did they cope. One of my daughters lost a tooth in Sept and hasn't spoken to her father or I since. Yes its frustrating and I am trying to be patient, but I have heard different things and now the counselors want to put my girls on prozac and that scares me.

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So What Happened?

I just want to thank everyone and their comments. I so appreciate the support. I will do my best to keep everyone posted. Take care and good bless. C.

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K.D.

answers from Detroit on

My daughter has a girl in her kindergarten class with this disorder. It is a small school (only 12 in the class) and most of the children have been together since PK-3, so she is very familiar with all of them and will occasionally speak a whisper out loud. But, 90% of the time she says nothing audible--but will whisper in the girls ears while playing.
I could get you in touch with her parents if you like.
Send me an email and I can pass it on to them.

Good luck!
K.

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C.H.

answers from Grand Rapids on

Hi C.,

I am a speech pathologist and I have worked with 3 children who have been diagnosed with selective mutism. 2 of them "outgrew" it and it became an issue of "please stop talking right now." :) The other child actually used it more as control as she was in foster care and came from a questionable home life.

I talked to a social worker when i had these kids and he said forcing them to talk would be like sticking a snake in my face over and over, telling me that it won't hurt me or bite me, forcing me to touch it even though he knew that i was terrified of snakes. What worked for me was to work with the kids in small group at school. I set up communication where they could gesture or use pictures to get what they want until I gained their trust. Then as they were more comfortable, I made it a requirement that they at least say yes or no and built up from there. Each child is different, and I don't know what you have tried, but I might talk to the speech path at school to see if they can help.

Sorry I am not much help. It is a very difficult thing to deal with, but from what I have read, it is an anxiety disorder. My daughter also has anxiety and we are getting ready to trial her on some meds as well. I would think that it would at least be worth a try as they are probably just as miserable as you are.

Good Luck,
C.

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A.F.

answers from Detroit on

Have you thought of getting the involved in music somehow? It might be a way for them to express themselves and build self esteem. Just an idea. I don't know anything about the disorder.

A.B.

answers from Detroit on

My 10 year old Goddaughter suffers from "Selective Mutism" and we have tried EVERYTHING to help her but she still hasn't spoken ONE WORD in school:( As a last resort, her mother is considering Prozac...it has a high success rate with SM children.

An amazing website is www.selectivemutism.org. There is a support group for parents that meets in Farmington Hills monthly, I will try to find their info and email it to you.

We would love to meetup if anyone is interested also:)

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N.B.

answers from Detroit on

You said that they are seeing a counselor. I agree with the one lady, don't force them to talk. I am sure you wondering too if something tragic happened. Will they communicate by writing? Or sign language? Try to work with them instead of getting frustrated and upset. Also this may sound really crazy to you...but you say they are twins. I beleive they can probably commincate with each other (without talking...like mind reading) so at least they are talking to each other. You hear stories about that kind of stuff all the time. It may be far fetched but it also maybe the case.

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B.M.

answers from Detroit on

good luck. i will keep your girls in my thought and prayers .

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L.C.

answers from Saginaw on

Wow, this must be really eerie to live with. I've not heard of this before, but it is always so distressing to parent anxious children, however that manifests.

There are a couple of ideas I might suggest looking toward: William Glasser's Choice Theory, as he talks a fair amount about dealing with anxiety and what provokes it in people (or makes it worse); and, NLP and hypno-therapy... which often have dramatic results very rapidly, even with long-standing anxiety disorders.

I wish you the best. Your love for your daughters will bring you all through this, I have no doubt.

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J.S.

answers from Lansing on

I am surprise your girls are 7 and someone is just identifying a potential problem. Take your girls to a
psychiatrist and perferably one who works with children. Your family doctor should help you with a referral. Medication maybe appropriate, however as well meaning as your counselor is trying to be, her recommending a particular med ( Prozac ) is out of her scope of practice.

Good luck

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L.S.

answers from Grand Rapids on

I do NOT have kids with mutism but I would agree with you about the prozac. There are a lot of ways to do things naturally if you do a little research, you can find a lot of info. on the internet.

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N.E.

answers from Detroit on

C.,
My daughter is 7 and in the second grade, AND she is selective mute. So I know all to well what you are going through. No one has ever mentioned to me to you medication, but Haley will talk to her father and I also. I know that it is commonly used. Haley has been seeing a play therapist for the past year and a half. She is about to be done with that, as she still doesnt talk to the play therapist. But she has accomplished SO much this past year too. What school district are you in? I must say, I am not that pleased with our school district, but they are trying their best. And her 2nd grade teacher was GREAT in terms of her selective mutism. Academics are what we are not happy about.
At any rate, I am here, I have a 7 year old daughter too. Maybe we should try to get them together sometime, so they know they arnt alone? Or you and I can just chat and brainstorm. Feel free to email me. [email protected]____.com and we can chat more. There is SO much to write and talk about selective mutism
God Bless
Tosha

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T.H.

answers from Atlanta on

I was selectively mute in elementary school. I know this disorder from the inside out. Rather than being singled out as "flawed" and sent to a psychologist to "fix" me, I was accepted as "shy" and treated with kindness and patience by my teachers and family. I overcame it on my own and am now a psychologist, myself. Enough cannot be said for unconditional positive regard as a curative measure.

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A.I.

answers from Lansing on

wow never heard of that befor good luck

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L.R.

answers from Detroit on

Wow, I am very sorry to hear about what you are going through with your girls. I do not have any advice, but, I will remember you in my prayers. Please keep us posted on their progress. I work at a large health center where they do a great deal of pediatric speech therapy. I will check into a few things and let you know if I find anytjing. Good luck to all of you!!

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