Our 4 yr. old daughter has not actually been diagnosed with SM at this point but shows all the signs. We just found that there is a name for this condition after contacting a school councilor and explaining her situation. Which led us to this site; we are so thankful to have this information! We have learned that we have unknowingly done many things right for her over the years (ie: playdates, social situations, gymnastics, not pressuring but encouraging) and have seen significant improvement. She will be going to Kindergarten next year and she is already beginning to develop a positive relationship with her soon-to-be teacher (she is working on speaking more to her preschool teachers this year). My question is: should be seek professional help as well? I have a list of children psychiatrist/psychologists; should we interview them? What criteria would you recommend? We have seen continual improvement; I would hate to see her regress because she is scared of this new situation. Thanks!
By the sound of your letter it seems that your daughter is making progress with her ‘speaking’. Has your child been officially diagnosed with Selective Mutism by a professional? The facts that she IS speaking to her preschool teachers, and becoming comfortable with her Kindergarten teacher are excellent, positive signs. How is her social development going? Is she talking and interacting with the other children? It can never really hurt to get a psychologist’s or psychiatrist’s opinion on the matter. I would try and make sure that her preschool teacher speaks to the psychologist to let him/her know exactly what is going on in school.
It also sounds like you have been doing the right things to help your child conquer this. Continue what you are doing. Some other recommendations that work well with young children are the ‘reward’ methods. Set up a sticker chart at home, and send one to school. Speak with your child’s teacher ahead of time about the chart. The teacher should put a sticker on the card for every time she verbalizes, even if it is just one word answers. After your child gets a certain amount of stickers (say 5), she should get some sort of reward. With the chart for at home, encourage verbalization at home to visitors, out in public, etc. You would be surprised how well this method can work with some children. Honestly, by the sound of your letter, it seems as if your child is making progress. Another suggestion is to try and send your daughter to a small, nurturing Kindergarten where she can get sufficient one on one attention, and does not feel overwhelmed with a lot of children in a class. I hope this information helps. Continue checking out the site for updated info!