Author: PopularStar

Selective Mutism, a short story [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2011-7-24 19:39:48 |Display all floors

Positive side of Selective Mutism

1. Highly empathetic

2. Great at keeping secrets

3. Good at evesdropping/ good hearing

4. Good with non-verbal communication

5.Excellent concentration

6. Creative and imaginative

7. Above average intelligence

8. Good sense of right and wrong
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Post time 2011-7-24 19:41:55 |Display all floors

The newspaper article that enlightened me

By Sandra Davie, Senior Writer

AT HOME, Corrine behaves like a normal seven-year-old. She is chatty with her parents and her sister and loves telling stories to her grandfather.

At school, though, she is known as 'the girl who doesn't talk'. She freezes when a stranger speaks to her and stares blankly when asked for her name or age.

She kept silent through two years in kindergarten and now, four months into Primary 1, she has still not uttered a word to her teacher or classmates.

At first, her parents thought she was just shy. Her mother said: 'I didn't think it was a big problem. I just thought she was a little reserved when out in public.'

But once she entered kindergarten, they realised it was much more than that.
Her teachers said she was not speaking up in class. When she needed to go to the bathroom, she would rather hold it in or wet herself than ask for permission.

Also, she did not seem to know her ABCs - and yet she read avidly.
Corrine's parents took her to a child psychologist, who diagnosed her problem as selective mutism, a little-known anxiety disorder.
A child with this can understand what is being said and speak normally at home but becomes unable to talk in specific situations, such as in school or in public.

The Child Guidance Clinic (CGC) at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) and psychologists in private practice have seen more such cases in recent years.

The CGC alone has diagnosed 115 cases in the last five years. Three years ago, it diagnosed 18 children; last year, the number nearly doubled to 34.

The Education Ministry said 65 students in mainstream schools were diagnosed with the disorder in 2007; last year, the figure was 80.
Dr Daniel Fung, who heads IMH's Department of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry and the Child Guidance Clinic, said the condition often goes undetected because awareness of it is still low and because parents and teachers think the child is just shy or anxious about school.
But there is a difference between ordinary shyness and selective mutism.

Dr Fung said: 'A shy child, given a familiar environment and some encouragement, will eventually open up. But a child with selective mutism will remain mute.'

A 2002 study in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry said the condition affects about seven in every 1,000 children, and strikes girls more than boys; it becomes obvious when the child starts pre-school.

The severity varies. Some children are completely non-communicative, others may use gestures and nods.
At one time, psychiatrists thought the condition was a child's way of showing defiance, but they now believe it has its roots in social anxiety.

Treatment involves lowering the patient's anxiety through medication such as Prozac and helping the child become more communicative in stages.

Dr Fung said it is important that parents of such children do not keep harping on speaking up because that would only reinforce the anxiety.

Occupational therapist Yael Sasson of Dynamics Therapy Centre, a private clinic for children, said the biggest challenge is to move the child from non-verbal to verbal communication.

She suggests getting the child to read at home, recording the session and playing it back in school so the child gets used to hearing his voice and overcomes the anxiety.

'It is a big step when the child starts whispering the answer to a friend in school or even to the teacher,' she said.
Most children get better in a year, said Dr Fung, but some do not overcome it.

One of his patients came to him at age 11, and despite medication and behavioural modification, the boy got no further than whispering to him, and was selectively mute even in university, where he studied computer science.
Corrine, meanwhile, has made slow progress with treatment.
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Post time 2011-7-24 19:42:42 |Display all floors

Not shyness

Dr Fung said: 'A shy child, given a familiar environment and some encouragement, will eventually open up. But a child with selective mutism will remain mute.'
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Post time 2011-7-24 19:44:26 |Display all floors

My story

I had selective mutism as far as I can remember. I am very talkative and noisy at home but at school I don’t talk. Fortunately I do have friends in school and I may respond to them when they talk to me. Usually I don’t talk when they first chat with me but a few of my friends persisted and didn’t give up. Some teachers got mad at me and said I was very stubborn. When they ask me questions in class, I just could not respond. I can’t move my lips and my heat beats very fast and I have this hightened awareness whenever I’m undre this situation. I badly wanted to answer the teacher and kept telling myself “you need to talk, you need to talk, c’mon say something, say something!!!” but my vocal cord seems paralysed.

Then I went to high school. First few months when my classmates talk to me, I would write the reply on a piece of paper. Some of them admitted to me that they thought I was mute. I didn’t know I was suffering from SM at this point. I couldn’t move properly during physical education lessons. There is this anxiety that keeps me from moving properly. To me it is embarrassing to be seen running, jumping and exercising. I also don’t eat proper meals during luch because that to me is embarrassing. I don’t find the way others eat as embarrassing but I find it very embarrassing to eat lunch in front of other kids. So I eat snack and drink becaue it is less embarrassing. Some teachers still find me stubborn and some kids find me weird and disliked me for not talking. When I went to university, I knew this has to stop. I can’t survive in the working world like this. So I decided to take the initiative to talk to peole I don’t know. I would force myself to talk to other students until I got used to this.

By the time I got to university, I got pretty ok talking to people around my age but I find it scary to talk to little children and old people. So I would book consultation with the professors and to overcome my problem, I’ll go alone without bringing my friends. The routine before meeting prof is like this;(1) reach in front of prof office about 10 minutes in advance, (2) prepare a script before meeting prof, (3) say a prayer, (4) mentally get ready and reassure myself, (5) knock on the door and go in, (6) read out what I wrote in the script as if I’m talking normally. While studying in the university, I came across a newspaper article and I immedialy felt like I was reading my life story. While some people suffer from mild case of SM, I realised my was at the extreme end. I must say I overcame it because during class presentations I often came out as the top presenter. Of course I practiced a lot and it wasn’t talent. To me I was just doing a acting/performance in front of the audience. I still have problem talking to older people and I am very much afraid of talking over the phone. Sometimes I wouldn’t pick up the phone because I was too afraid to talk on the phone. It takes a lot of courage for me to sometimes pick up a call.

I must say that I am not a coward and I am not weak. I dare to make decisions that others disagree with and I dare to speak up for what I believe in. I am not weak because I have the mental determination to excel in sports, music,a rt and studies. It is just something in my brain that is different. That cause me a lot of disadvantages but also brought me many advantages.
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Post time 2011-7-24 20:04:00 |Display all floors
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Post time 2011-7-24 20:05:15 |Display all floors

Cruel misundrstanding

I'm weary of this laughable trend of people proclaiming their personal weaknesses are the fault of disorders.
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Post time 2011-7-24 20:05:58 |Display all floors

More cruel misunderstandings

if u cant talk u are a pussy deal with it stop faking and causing stupid pointless drama in this world you assholes



these people give all sorts of things names and call them disorders. this world has many types of people who get along with different people. Giving them drugs and telling them what to do and treating them like problems will make it worse!



You're gonna put kids on drugs for this ----?! Every ----ing human attribute is now considered a sickness? Tell me the pharmaceutical and medical industries doesn't love this ----. I am shy as hell in public but, doesn't consider it a "sickness". Maybe this inept and dumbed-down generation would call Calvin Coolidge a nut with this ----. So many PhDs and these numskulls can only eradicate 1 disease throughout human history.


if they can selectively chose not to speak they can selectively chose TO speak! i think this is bull...everyone has to do things they don't like to..we all did as kids. buck up and deal with it.

his is just a result of bad parenting
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