Our daughter is 6 and we have recently been in touch with our local Speech Pathologist (who specializes in SM)-she came to our home to observe K….. and told me K……appears to have SM from what she can tell, and she seems to be emerging. My concern is that she uses words and phrases such as,” these kids know exactly what they are doing.” They want to control everything. This may be hard to hear but they are very manipulative. She doesn’t say this in a mean way, and says it is from the anxiety. She seems to know something that I don’t understand and don’t see myself. She brought me a copy of the Personal DSM IV, so I believe she has recent info about SM. I am not understanding this (am I being defensive?) I try to be open to positive AND negative aspects of SM, but when I look at K….. in her most difficult situations I see fear, apprehension and anxiety, not manipulation or control. I want to be open to learning, but my instincts are telling me that K….. is not doing this on purpose. Is there anything you can tell me to help me understand? Why am I not getting this aspect of SM. Please help?
You are absolutely 100% correct! You are not missing anything, the speech pathologist is! These children are not controlling, defiant and manipulative…not in the least bit! The reason people feel this is because of this: Anxious children do not always LOOK anxious…especially after being in an environment for a period of time…the blank, expressionless, glazed over look is not present ALL THE TIME. So people see these kids running, playing and not talking…and when they are spoken to many of these kids just briefly look at the person who asked the question.and then turn away… SO, it looks just like defiance.
Your speech therapist is way off base, and it is attitudes like this that are the reasons we are so PASSIONATE and DEDICATED to our cause. We need so badly to educate all professionals out there… When children do overcome SM they will clearly tell you that they wanted sooooo badly to speak, I have heard such things as, “the words were stuck in my throat”, “my tongue was playing tricks on me,” “my lips wouldn’t open to let the words out.”
Kim, You are obviously right on top of things, and know your child, do not continue with a professional that sees your child as manipulative and stubborn. Children are so perceptive, especially our bright SM kids. Your child will pick right up on the feeling this therapist has and this is not in your child’s best interest.