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  1. #1

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    Default Selective Mutism

    sigh... my 7 yr old son Morgan is in the first grade. He is a very happy and smart boy, but in school this year it is a completely different story. He refuses to speak to teachers when called on, even in basic conversation, he does not talk to them. When talking to his peers, he leans in real close to them and speaks, but it is almost a whisper. We've noticed this at home, at times he is talking and laughing and having a good ol' time with his older brother (who has Autism) and other times he is stone cold quiet and will not even look you in the eye when you are trying to talk to him and get a response. I actually was subbing as a Para today at my boys school and his teacher talked to me and expressed her deep concern today about his extreme shyness. She is going to get the ball rolling and contact the school psychologist and school counselor to do some assessments possibly and start some observations. I have noticed this and it is quite frustrating, I just do not know what to do. They brought up "Selective Mutism" and I am familiar with this as I work in a preschool setting and one of the preschoolers has this. I do see a lot of similarities with this student and my son. My son has started to cry for unknown reasons at school and this lasts for 30 or more minutes, I've had lots of calls from the nurse that he was crying and they didn't know why and he wasn't using his words to tell them. They just knew he wasn't hurt from asking him is he hurt and he would shake his head NO. Other times I have had to pick him up at school because he has vomited, once any child vomits, parents are called and you take your child home since they are 'sick' but in this case, my son has worked himself up over something in school and vomited. Like right now, I am on the couch and he is talking up a storm watching Chipwrecked Chipmunk Movie, he is commenting and laughing and very vocal. Now place him in a school setting or at a relatives house or out to eat at a restaurant and he is silent, he will not look up at you and give you eye contact, he most certainly will not tell the waitress what he wants to order for food, if he does it is a whisper, heck sometimes I think he thinks he is whispering but no words are coming out. Anyway, the teachers are quite concerned with his behavior this year and want to do some more research and try to get a handle on this before it gets worse, next year his new teacher make take this as being defiant when there could be something really wrong, so I am looking for any suggestions or advice if anyone has dealt with something like this with their child.

  2. #2

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    Nov 2009
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    Default Re: Selective Mutism

    oh Renee I'm so sorry he's dealing with this. I think it's smart to contact someone about it too. My first thought is maybe he's been through some type of trauma but maybe it is something else. I wonder if some type of speech therapy would help him learn to vocalize better.

    Kaleb is extremely shy and he will talk very little when we are out in public. He also has a hard time looking you in the face. I have to tell him when we are out to talk to me in my ear sometimes because I can't hear him. It's mainly when he's asking for something vs when he's talking about something. Or when someone asks him a question he just claims up. He did his K screening the other day and to my surprise he didnt have any issues talking to everyone while we were not around. Of course he does take speech there @ the school and Trinity goes there.

    I hope you find a solution soon.

  3. #3

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    Default Re: Selective Mutism

    He was fine last year in Kindergarten, this year in 1st grade something changed. Earlier in the school year he had some bullying issues with two boys in his class that had gotten pretty bad. He had gotten kicked in the stomach by one boy at recess and the other boy had threatened him with if he told he'd be in trouble with the school behavior guy, which he had to go talk to in his office to tell him what the boys had done to him. The bullying has stopped but my son still hangs out with one of the offenders and often comes home and tells me things his 'friend' has said throughout the day. I have tried to deter him from hanging out with this boy and have suggested other kids to play with but he is drawn to this boy. My sons teacher has said he seems emotionless during class and she can not initiate any conversation with Morgan. He refuses to talk and ignores her. His recent report card reflects his inability to talk, all of the class participation markings are barely acceptable grades and in Music he never sings and doesn't participate. He is a good artist and excels in art and loves to learn, he is very smart and is above average on most subjects. He is currently reading on a 3rd grade level and is doing advanced spelling words but refuses to speak at school.

  4. #4

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    Default Re: Selective Mutism

    Morgan was in 2 years of preschool and his teacher was very concerned back then on how quiet he is. I want to address this as soon as possible and am happy the school is taking this to another level, I am going to ask around for some local agencies advice. We just changed pediatricians and the new doctor hasn't really seem Morgan except at a physical for my older son and was trying to initiate conversation with him to no avail. I told the doctor he was shy, he got a few laughs and smiles out of him, but no words. I will make an appointment and maybe he can give us a referral to talk to someone to try to get more ideas on how to help him. It just seems like something is always going on with our family and it hasn't been smooth sailing for some time now. It gets a person down ya know?

  5. #5

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    Default Re: Selective Mutism

    wow Renee, what a tough challenge! my first thought, on reading your post, was it really sounds like a social anxiety issue, but in a child that young I'm not even sure that they would diagnose it as such. good luck, he is a lucky boy to have such an involved and concerned mommy that will work with him and be his advocate! *hugs*




  6. #6

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    Default Re: Selective Mutism

    I would really speak with the school about the boy(s) that did the bullying and see if possible to get your son in a different classroom or the other boy. Some children are leaders and others are followers; it may be that the bullying boys told her son that if he talks they might do something to him so your son is taking their threat literally.

    I believe the best for everyone is probably some type of counseling specializing in children to determine if the bullying went past bullying to abuse which could be the result of the change in your child.


  7. #7

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    Default Re: Selective Mutism

    Aww Renee - that's tough. I hope, with the schools help, you can get to the bottom of it all.
    Sign up for the GingerScraps Newsletter!!

  8. #8

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    Default Re: Selective Mutism

    thanks ladies. i am taking all of your suggestions, I am going to do some calling tomorrow to see who I can get my son to see outside of the school district for additional help. I blogged a little more in detail about about what has been going on with him.

    http://reneez-mnmommy2.blogspot.com/

  9. #9

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    Default Re: Selective Mutism

    Oh my gosh Renee, so heartbreaking! I agree with the others about the bullying causing this.

    I knew a little boy (probably age 3 or so though then) who was excitable and hyper and talkative at home around family, and once the babysitter/daycare worker (who was ALSO a family friend!) came around, he was stone cold, silent, shy and skiddish... it turns out this "care-giver" was nothing but an abuser. Once he was old enough to explain to his mom (and me), he informed us in private that she would yell and call him names, and other physical abusvie traits also, SO HEARTBREAKING to hear and yet, it went on for over a YEAR before they realized it wasn't a social disorder causing his sudden change in behavior, but the PERSON he'd been traumatized by....

    Good Luck, and I hope for his sake, he can get past it!



  10. #10

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    Default Re: Selective Mutism

    Oh gosh, I do not know what to offer in advice I only know this breaks my heart. I cannot believe the actions of other children in being able to kick someone and verbally threaten them at such a young age. I worry so much about my child when he goes to school because my son is so loving and kind. He even says "bless you' when you sneeze and he is only 3 1/2. I wonder if some mean boys would take advantage of his kindness and bully him. Maybe that is part of the reason I have him in karate so he can learn to defend himself if need be. Anyway, honestly if it were me I would pull my son out of the school and homeschool until things improve. I would also send him to a child therapist to see if they can find out what is happening to cause the selective mutism. I know it must be so hard not being able to help with our mommy powers but it really seems the school is the reason for his behaviors. I hope the issues are resolved soon and your boy can be his wonderful self in and out of school. ((((((((hugs)))))))))

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