I am a stay-at-home mother of 5 children. All my children have anxiety, but it is my middle child that I quickly learned had a more pronounced form of it. I sensed something different in her and started reading every book I could on what it could be. I first blamed myself believing I must not of given her enough attention after the birth of my 4th child. Then, I read books like, "Your Strong Willed Child", "Your Spirited Child", "The Oppositional Defiant Child", and so many more. Every book just touched on some of the symptoms my daughter exhibited, but it didn't explain why she didn't speak in class or why it was so difficult to take her anywhere outside our home. I noticed when she was an infant she had severe separation anxiety. I took a class and had my daughter watched by others, but she never stopped crying whenever she was there. When she was in Kindergarten the teacher wanted to hold her back and told me daughter was on a power trip (the teachers words not mine). I knew beyond any doubts that that was not the case. The teacher wanted to hold her back because she could not asses her skills, so I asked to asses her. She proved to know all the answers, and just because she wouldn't talk was no reason to hold her back. I was determined to find the answers and knew they were out there....somewhere. I kept typing into the internet searches "daughter not speaking in class", and other terms. Finally.....I stumbled on to www.selectivemutism.org. I started reading the forums and cried as I knew I finally found what I had been looking for. Finally found the help I so desperately needed. When I started to read what others have tried that worked for them in dealing with their SM child I incorporated some of the same techniques and can truly say I was amazed at the results. An example: Whenever I needed to run an errand I knew it would be challenging taking my daughter, and would just pick her up and put her in the car without telling her. This always let to her crying the whole time. I read from another parent that I need to tell her in advance and let her process it. After I did this, my life became so much easier. It actually worked and it was so simple. How can that be? Just one easy change was all it took. How was it that I couldn't figure that out myself??? My daughter is now 12 and has been in public school. She has given speeches in front of her classmates (still quietly, but the 504 plan I put in place for her years ago allows for this - as well as not giving her too much focused attention) and she has made a few friends. She still struggles with many sensory issues and has difficulty with transitions. I have found a wonderful PHD Psychologist that is working with my family and my daughter. We still have a long road ahead of us and it is my hope to be able to finally figure this thing out. I would love to share my experiences and help, as I have been helped from others struggling like me.
I am currently the State Coordinator for Oregon with the Selective Mutism Group. For more information please visit http://www.selectivemutism.org/