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Selective Mutism?
October 16, 2013 at 11:22 PM

Any moms here familiar with this?

Drake is now 5.  At home and with family (and at walmart, ect) he's outgoing, chatty, bright.  One on one with strangers, it takes him a few moments to warm up, then he's fine. But in groups on his own (Sunday School, Children's Church, Awana) he clams up. 

He will talk with his SS teacher a bit, and will mind directions they give, and sometimes will join in with activities, but he doesn't speak much.  Often, he'll go and stand or sit (or lay on the mat) in the corner quietly after a bit of play/class time.

He will talk to his daddy and I in church when we're together, and he did play and interact with the other 4 kids at his birthday party. At the park if one child wants to play with him, he'll do so and talk a bit. But he won't join a group. he just goes about doing and playing what he wants in the midst of them.

So, if you know about SM, are these red flags?  Ideas? Suggestions?  Stories to share?  We're considering having him evaluated soon regardless.

Thanks so much for your time!


  • usmom3
    by usmom3
    October 16, 2013 at 11:28 PM

     I know what it is but I don't know the criteria of it!  He sounds like he is just shy around groups of children & that is normal for some children!

  • Bluecalm
    October 16, 2013 at 11:37 PM

    Quoting usmom3:

     I know what it is but I don't know the criteria of it!  He sounds like he is just shy around groups of children & that is normal for some children!

    My thoughts too.

    Does he have any speech or anguage processing problems? My son won't always talk around strangers because it's a lot of effort for him. 

  • KLove_Mom
    October 16, 2013 at 11:43 PM

    He sounds like my husband... seriously. If there are more than 3 people near him, he doesn't talk unless he's asked a direct question. 
    There are exceptions, like at work when he is in charge of a task or meeting and has to talk to a group.

    But mostly he just doesn't talk except one on one with people.
    It's probably just a personality thing.

    You could try some art therapy with him. Ask him to draw the class and see what he says about himself in the situation. Ask him  why he's by himself or being quiet.
    That might clue you into the why, but as long as he's behaving and following direct instructions I wouldn't think it was a problem. 

    My mother, a school counselor,  worked with a selective mute girl in 1st grade once. The girl would only whisper to her teacher, and never talk to anyone else at the school. Finally she started talking to my mom in private too. 
    After meeting the girl's dad, who had a severe stutter, she asked the girl about it, and found out that the girl was worried that she sounded like that too and the others at school would make fun of her.
    So they worked with her and she started talking a little, but it took a while. 

  • Silverkitty
    October 16, 2013 at 11:55 PM

    Sounds a lot like myself.  I don't like being with a lot of people unless I have to be.  I'm a very quiet person, even one on one with people.  My daughter is great with kids, but when it comes to a larger group of people she is quiet as well.  My son on the other hand is just very outgoing.

    If you think it might be something, I'd talk with a specialist, but it sounds like he is shy.

    In the girl scout group I was in there was a girl with selective mutism.  She wouldn't talk to kids or adults even when asked a direct question.  It took all year for her to start talking with the leaders of the troop and even then she was really quiet about it.

  • TheLadyCash
    October 17, 2013 at 12:23 AM

    Thanks, Ladies.

    I'd try the art, but he isn't a 'drawing/arsty' kid.  He doesn't color inside the lines, but still scribbles all over the page. Handwriting is coming along very slowly. He'll happily trace letters all day, but he won't try to write them on his own, and when he does it's like he can't remember how to form the letter.  So art is out, at least right now, but we're working on it all.


  • PurpleCupcake
    October 17, 2013 at 6:20 AM

    Sounds like my shy boy. He is growing out of it. 

    If your son is not showing extreme anxiety around people, I would say it is normal shyness.

    Since he will play around others and not with them I would vote for shyness.

    I think a child with an anxiety disorder wouldn't play at all around others. 

    And since he will talk to kids on one on one at the park I would really think he is just shy around large groups. 

    If he had this disorder he would likely avoid any interaction with kids at the park. 

    Groups are intimidating. Groups have a hierarchy. Some kids have a hard time figuring out their place in the group. So they just avoid large groups. 

    He sounds like a shy, sweet boy to me. 

  • hwblyf
    by hwblyf
    October 17, 2013 at 8:03 AM

    I have a friend whose daughter has SM, and it's not just that she's quiet or shy, it's that people outside her family didn't hear her speak for years.  He may simply be an introvert who is worn out by so many around him.

  • Leissaintexas
    October 17, 2013 at 10:34 AM

    He's an introvert and there is no therapy needed! I'm an introvert as well and I've passed that on to my dd. She was exactly like your son. At home, she was a chatterbox, but her Sunday School teacher came to me one day and asked if there were any issues they should know about. Well, I had no idea what she meant and she said "You know, like speech delays or anything?" Turns out they had never heard her speak, ever. She was around 8 or so before she would open up in a group of more than 3 or 4. Even extended family rarely heard her speak. And when she did, she was very soft-spoken. Now she is nearly 13 and I can't shut the girl up.

  • paganbaby
    October 17, 2013 at 11:31 AM

    Quoting usmom3:

     I know what it is but I don't know the criteria of it!  He sounds like he is just shy around groups of children & that is normal for some children!

  • TheLadyCash
    October 17, 2013 at 2:37 PM

    Thanks for the new replies.

    It's all keeping me calm and level headed. 

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