I'm on a journey to find health and happiness through a more holistic and green lifestyle.

I find the world to be abrasive. =) That is to say, I feel the need to armor myself, physically and emotionally, in order to face life. Don't we all? Maybe. For whatever reason, it has become a priority in my life to rid my immediate environment of irritating things. And I'm sensitive! So there is much work to be done. But. I have thought for a long time that the things I come in contact with every day, and the stuff used to clean and maintain these things, need to be gentle and non-toxic. I have had eczema my entire life. For a long time I just dealt with it, and accepted that sometimes it's bad, and sometimes it's not, and that it will fluctuate a lot. Gradually over time I have come to find that certain things, fabrics, cleansers, materials, are more irritating to my skin than others. Stress can exacerbate it. In more recent times, I have realized that every aspect of my life improves when I improve conditions for my skin. Hah! What a concept! Thus my (long time) interest in going green, and my more recent desire to live a more holistic lifestyle. (I think I've felt a desire for a long time to live in a harmonious way with myself, my surroundings, and nature, but didn't have a name for it.) Anyhow, this blog is a journal of my trials and errors, and basic crooked path to find a balanced and peaceful existence for myself and my family. Thanks for your interest! I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Selective Mutism

My daughter is having a tough time at school at the moment. Mostly at school. I wrote about it recently: Peace in Patterns?

This morning I received an email from my daughter's kindergarten teacher:

Just wanted to let you know how much (Dear Daughter) has been in my thoughts this week.  I know she is going through a lot of anxiety and you must be too!  If you want to talk, let me know.

Also, I am attaching a website for you to look at.  I am not an expert, but I think that many of (DD's) behaviors fit the profile of selective mutism.  I thought you might want to look at it.  I am always an advocate for too much information rather than not enough. 

(Signed DD's teacher)

She included this link.

I was floored. Not only did this "diagnosis" basically describe my daughter to a T, but it also described ME! Well! I'm floored. I immediately told dear hubby about it, and sent him the link. Basically, in a nutshell, it describes a child who, in certain situations, becomes so anxious, he/she literally cannot speak. The fear of the situation is all consuming. That's us. That's US! I dealt with that fear all the way through school, including college. And now it's affecting her, too. Wow.

I encourage anyone interested to go to the link above. It's a lot to read, but it's fascinating. And being one who is totally intensely shy in certain situations, I especially appreciated the emphasized point that in treatment, the child is not to be forced to speak! The emphasis is on making the child feel comfortable and understood. It emphasized that parents and teachers should support the child in every situation, and praise him/her for what he/she is able to do, when the timing is right. 

Yes, the treatment suggestions include therapy and maybe medicine, which I'm not crazy about, but I understand that it could be helpful in some ways. 

Regardless, I am excited to know more about this "diagnosis" and to know what we can do to help DD manage her anxiety. If I can learn how to manage mine at the same time, double bonus. But I have created a mostly low-stress environment around myself, so my need is not acute. 

But she's got years and years of scary school/other situations to face, so if we can make that less awful, well, let's do it. 



  1. I worked with a young girl in therapy who had this 'disorder'. she was 10 and had never spoken outside of her home unless it was directly to family. I worked with her for a year- and with a combination of therapy and medicine she began talking. I will add that it probably would have happened sooner if her mother had been more compliant with medication recommendations. Regardless it is an anxiety disorder and medication can help move things forward and then (possibly) be discontinued.

  2. Thanks for your message, Joanne! My daughter is not nearly as extreme as that, which gives me much hope that she, too, can learn some strategies that will make scary situations less so. It is comforting to know someone with some direct experience in this area. I had never heard of this disorder before. And yes, compliance is a huge issue. I worked in mental health before having kids, and if the client or family is not on board, you really don't get too far too fast.....

  3. Hi Daisy,
    I'd be happy to meet with you and talk, if you want. My middle daughter was 'dx' w/SM. We've done lots of research and attended conferences. We've worked along w/teachers, friends and family using SM strategies that have helped alleviate anxiety and now she is comfortable speaking in most situations. Hang in there!!!!

  4. Wait wait wait, is this Sharon who I see every day? I am astounded by the responses and support I have received since getting this information. I would be VERY interested in talking with you! (Whether or not you are THAT Sharon!) Thank you so much for your message!

  5. My granddaughter was recently diagnosed with selective mutism at age three. I knew she was "different" from the day she was born. I have been her primary caregiver (11 hours per day) since she was one year old. But at her birth, I noticed her raw and high pitched cry - and the same cry when she was trying to transition to sleep. At four months she began to be afraid/shy of strangers and it escalated from there. She has started therapy with a child phychologist (at age three) and as of the last session, she has began talking to the therapist. She is now three years and four months old. She talks to a "selective few" relatives and she more recently she does talk to children.