- Define the situation clearly. What exactly is it your'e worrying about? Be specific. Often when we take the time to clarify a problem, a way to solve it will present itself.
- Face the worst that can happen. Would you lose your job? Your relationship? Your investment? In most cases even if the worst did happen, chances are it wouldn't ruin you. It may be inconvienent or painful, but does it really warrant all the anxiety you are giving it?
- Resolves to accept the outcome, whatever it is. Most of the stress of worry comes from denial, from not being willing to accept whatever happens, you'll find worry loses its power over you.
- Work to improve the situation. Renowned neurologist James H Austin said 'Chance favours those in motion'. Do all you can to ensure the best possible outcome, and after you have done everything... stand (Ephesians 6:13) Stand on God's promise
- Give the problem to God. He's the controller of all thing. The Psalmist said, 'Those who know Your name will trust in You, for You Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you. (Psalm 9:10) Remember nothing can happen to you today, or any other day, that God is not aware of, in control of, and able to bring you through. "
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Monday, December 27, 2010
At first this only effected myself but gradually it extended to others including my partner and his Grandma until there was only one person with whom he would speak, now after we got used to this situation, then he stopped talking to Grandad as well. Since then it has been two weeks since he has talked normally and it is hard living with a silent child.
We tried to get some help but unfortunately our normal psychologist is away for the holidays and the CAMHS are unable to help us into the New Year. So consequently we have been coping with this situation on our own. Mostly we cope ok with moments of fear interlacing with frustration and sometimes anger.
Before all this started we participated in a program called Babyhands where Josiah learnt basic sign language in the hope that he would use it at school when he was unable to speak. This has come into use now and he is able to at least begin to communicate in this way. And he has also started using this with other people who he hasn't spoken to in the past which is great because this in itself is a step forward.
So we are in the waiting game now to get any appointment for help in dealing with this so we don't enable his behaviour. Just hoping something happens soon, or that Josiah will re-emerge as a loud and noisy child he normally is.
Monday, December 13, 2010
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Overall I am pretty happy with what he wrote. He said he has a normal IQ which is reassuring. So we got a phonecall from the Speech Therapist. We also got a phonecall from CAMHS and they are going to discuss Josiah at their next case meeting. Hoping that someone will come out of that. Planning to contact them on Monday to find out.
At school we have been working on playing with kids one on one. And we have done that for two weeks. We are realising that working with the teacher in the last term won't help him a lot because he will be going to a new classroom with a new teacher next Summer. So he played with around 4 kids and all of them he talked in front of them, which is great.
One kid actually exclaimed in shock "Josiah talked, he can talk" Josiah continued on with his activity like it was no big deal. But I guess he thought it was pretty amazing. Also we did some easy book activities with three kids including Josiah and he was able to answer what number it was eg counting. Mostly he didn't need me to ask him again, he whispered but it all is progress.
Friday, November 12, 2010
Monday, November 1, 2010
We had a discussion, firstly on the issue of sharing. Just because someone wants something does not mean that you have to give it to that person. You are allowed to play with a toy but it is important to share with others especially if you have had a turn on the toy. That he can go to others for help or simply going closer to the teacher will help him be safer.
When you are a parent in the middle of trying to help your son deal with problems he is dealing with it is hard to see the progress unless you take a step back. But as I have discovered recently there is progress small significant steps that if you don't take the time to observe you miss it.
So in the interest of observation these are the things we have noticed recently that has been great.
- First of all Josiah spoke in front of my sister Lucy. So far my son is four and she has not really heard him speak full sentences. On this occasion he spoke a full sentence and a good one at that in front of Lucy.
- He has also spoke in front of other people that aren't in his comfortable circle. Usually when myself or Scott is present but it still is progress.
- A significant step at school is that Josiah has felt comfortable enough to respond to the teachers with a simple nod when asked a simple question such as if he wants fruit or wants to ride on a bike.
- Josiah is now able to call out for me in the shops, and has been able to hand over money or items when buying something for himself.
- He now shows facial expressions when spoken to smiling, frowing and so on. In the past when spoken to he would look back with a blank facial expression showing no emotion.
- In the after school sessions Josiah is also feeling more and more comfortable and is not needing to have as much support to speak in front of the teacher. This afternoon I noticed that instead of having to ask the question again, which he will answer me, he answered the teacher's question straight away.
Perspective is a powerfull thing. I wish I had more observation skills to take in the progress that is being made so I don't feel as discouraged at times, and to notice how much things are getting better and improving.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
The paediatrician himself was fantastic very nice and gave Josiah the opportunity to warm up before he started talking to him. He was able to test him for his IQ and as we had expected he is average. The concern is that he may have some issues with learning that he is coping with very well that we have not been able to see as yet. Most likely not the case but it needs to be checked regardless.
So he agreed with the diagnosis of the psychologist. That is the gist of the whole meeting. We were told that we would most likely be the experts with selective mutism as it is so rare. This was quite disappointing for me and I think I burst into tears at one point. Mainly because we have been working so hard to help him and the journey has only just begun. It is incredibly hard to imagine we have so far to go before he gets to the point where he doesn't experience fear in regards to speaking anymore.
Saturday, October 2, 2010
It was really challenging to thinking about the long term because it isn't something that is over with over night. The therapist they referred to wrote the book I have read called the Selective Mutism Resource Manual which is a fantastic resource, her name is Maggie Johnson I believe.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
In watching each time this happens, I can see the pressure it puts on the child, to speak, and then when people wait (not for the wrong reasons) it increases a sense of anxiousness and possibly a sense of failure. Personally I have struggled with this whole concept and have come to the conclusion, I expect my son to ask with a good attitude, if he smiles and is polite with his nonverbal behaviour that is ok. But I draw the line when he ask's in a rude manner.
So my conclusion, is that some of the manners we teach can isolate those suffering from selective mutism. If they are not spoken to (simply because they don't speak) and the only interaction is related to a feeling of pressure, it is not hard to imagine how the child might feel? Then we wonder why they don't feel comfortable with others? This then perpetuates the cycle of silence.
What I have read is about communication load, there is low, medium and high levels of communication. Examples are:
Low: rote speech counting, days of the week, letters of the alphabet. Factual speech yes or no.
Medium: factual speech naming simple pictures, answering easy questions, with 'forced alternatives' (Is the grass green or purple). Reading aloud. Personal information sharing, name, age, date of birth, address.
High: Answering easy questions without a picture reference. Telling jokes, sharing opinions, fears, frustrations, wishes. "pg 249-250, Selective Mutism Resource Manual".
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
- Listen and encourage
- Parents should form a united team and work together to help the child
- Parents should privately discuss the SM behaviours and create a plan they can both agree to.
- Educate others: this is not stubbornness or willfull behaviour on behalf of the child, as is commonly believed.
- Reward communicative behaviour (nodding, note writing, waving, etc..)
- Build upon the child's existing strengths (signing, reading, etc..)
- Know who and where the child communicates so you can build plans to expand the child's communications skills.
- Help the child build friendships one at a time
- When ready, introduce the use of audio and video taping
- Ask did you talk today?
- Criticize your child for not talking
- Pressure by demanding speech or trying to trick him or her into speech
- Forget to give as much attention to other children in the home
- Foster dependance. Instead find ways to help him or her communicate with others nonverbally
- Discuss the child and his or her problems in front of the child or with other children in the family
- Praise in public; this attention makes the child more self conscious
- Try to bribe the child to speak
Comments: Some of these things are helpfull. But others are a little harder to implement. What I find most challenging is not talking about it too much with your child. This is hard to do when your focus sometimes is on the issue and trying to find a solution and make progress. Secondly, not asking if my child spoke when I pick him up from school. This is very hard not to do, I know I don't do it every day, but it still is challenging to think about it!
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
So the journey begun, we got a referral to the paediatrician. We found out there was at least a four month wait for her. Next I started calling everyone I could think of, PMH (speech pathology and psychology), education department, autism network (it sometimes presents together), speech pathologists etc.. I rang 8 of the 10 psychologist and slowly but surely they said no one by one. Then the last one, finally said yes. What a breakthrough. Now the hard work really begins!
The teachers were supportive. The Nurse didn't quite understand what was happening. I explained that he struggled to talk to anyone, we did all the assessment and he come up normal. The suggestions were made were for speech therapy, which was already happening and a referral to a paediatrician. This was where the process become frustrating.
We did all we knew what to do, he had regular hearing tests as a young child, from 12 months on. When he was two and a half he had an operation putting in grommets and taking out his adenoids and tonsils. We had hoped it would get better because we were suspicious that his talking might have something to do with his hearing.
After a few months he did sound clearer and was finding it easier to talk but his shyness didn't go away. I think he may have got progressively worse. He got referred for an assessment on his speech, but when it come time for the appointment. He couldn't talk, he couldn't even point to the pictures. The speech pathologist would leave the room and he would talk again, and the only way she could assess him was by watching me play with him.
He was now 3.5 years old and it was time to start school. We knew it would be interesting. But we knew it would be good for him too.