Home > anxiety, Elective Mutism, Mute, Selective Mutism, Shy, shyness > Add Junior Class President to his resume, Selective Mutism did not define him.

Add Junior Class President to his resume, Selective Mutism did not define him.

Thinking back on the days he did not speak and could not speak at school, I am over joyed to update you on the progress and his accomplishments.  The child who could not talk when he was 3 to 5, now elected  junior class president.

For those who know him today as this very confident person, would not suspect that he could not speak 12 years ago.  Selective Mutism changed him, molded him, but did not define him.

He came to us a few weeks back after visiting Standford for a college tour and said he wanted to run for class president.  They were stressing that it was not enough to have top grades, sports, you needed leadership and give back to the community. I thought it would go in one ear and out the other.  The trip was worth it just for that.  He was willing to risk and go for it.

 He  plays sports, but never had taken a leadership role and one so visible.  He also told us he would be running against the homecoming queen.  As we have always done we supported his decision and held our breath.  This was a big step, public speaking, leadership, expression of ideas. 

Posters- check, T shirt vote for….,- check-  Speech- check.  Smile and hand shake and off he went to win an election.

The news that he had won was a victory in many ways far beyond the typical high school hype.  To us it was his passage not just to speak, but to anything he want to do.   I hope it inspires your child who may still not have made the journey that he has and have set a path to make it a reality for more.

Now he tells me he has to plan Prom and Homecoming…… for us this is a homecoming from Selective Mutism.  Now he has left me speechless.

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  1. Tiffany
    May 14, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    Thank you for this post. My daughter is 4 and I am a very worried mom at this point. She has made decent progress in the past three months with speaking more in pre-school, but not full conversations (except 1 day with her teacher). I look forward to the day that she moves past the silence. Again, thank you for this sign of hope!

  2. PSB
    September 3, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    It’s so wonderful to hear how well your son is doing and how far he has come since his days of mutism. My daughter is 5 and has made lots of improvements in the last year and it’s heartwarming to think I might be able to watch my daughter make such huge leaps as your son has in the future. Thank you. x

  3. Jan
    November 7, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    Awesome story of encouragement, thank you for sharing.

    I was shocked when my 2 year old daughter’s Sunday school teacher told me that her heart went out to her because she was SO quiet…they had never heard her talk! This was the youngest of my 5 children and around the house was talkative and loud and held her own. Now I see she had Selective Mutism, but wasn’t aware of the problem then. She is currently 14 and has given the message at her youth group and is part of the worship team. We just gave her encouragement and let her take her time to find her voice.

  4. C. Ann Rodgers
    June 28, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    This is such a heartwarming story. I am a mom of a 12 year who turned 13 this week. He also wouldn’t speak much outside of the home between 3-5. I didn’t know there was such a thing as SM. But I knew something was wrong. I knew his preschool teachers thought something was really wrong, which I resented because I didn’t feel he was as messed up as they did. Of course, I didn’t really know how quiet he was at school! When he entered kindergarten his teachers called us in for a “students in trouble” meeting. They believed he was autistic. THey said at the beginning of the year they were not sure if he spoke English. At choice time he was frozen and stiff. We went through three years of testing with the school. SM was never mentioned because he did answer when he was spoken to. All the autism spectrum tests ended in no diagnosis. The only positive test was for gifted intelligence. and though that made me happy, his teachers seemed so disappointed that he wasn’t PDDNOS. Finally they told us that he was classic ADD. Their surveys tested postitive for that. Our parent surveys tested negative, but since it was 6 teachers and two parents. A doctor gave us the ADD inattentive type diagnosis. The school was happy since he got his IEP. We weren’t putting him on drugs, so we didn’t think it was too harmful to have the label if it helped him get support. But I never believed the label. They worked with him on fine motor skills such as handwriting and spelling and put him in AVID as he got older.We tried sports teams, soccer and baseball teams but he would shut down and freeze up in the games, though he did well in the practice. He hated the games and didn’t want to do it. So we stopped enrolling him at the beginning of third grade. When he was in third grade I read a Time magazine article about SM and realized this was my son. I stopped getting angry at him when he was “impolite” and I worked on play dates. He had three happy years and made two good friends. He is still quiet at school, but his two friends are gregarious.

    I’m asking for parental advice. These last two years I went back to school and now I have a job as a highschool teacher. I am a busy mom, so I had no time to arrange play dates and my husband doesn’t. My son’s 7th grade was lonely. He was separated from his friend (his other friend moved). We don’t have a selective mutism diagnosis. My pediatrician interviewed him in 3rd grade and said “don’t get the diagnosis.” He is talking now at school, but not much. I am sure he still has many lingering symptoms of SM. I also see that it runs in my husband’s family. My brother in law is a recluse with no friends, who is sooo shy and hates socializing. His wife says he is quite lively and funny when it is just the two of them. My mother in law told me that when he was a boy he never answered when an adult spoke to him and they used to punish him, send him to his room after he “froze up” at parties. But he grew out it, she said. They of course never thought anything was wrong. This brother in law went on to get a PhD in math.

    What can I do to help my son join things and overcome anxiety? How did your son decide to join sports teams? Is the pressure to perform for teammates hard for him? What helped him at school. Did you ever consider a drug such as Zoloft? Any advice you have for me would help. I went to a party where lots of my son’s school were there and my son sat in the corner stiff and unhappy looking and said nothing and made no eye contact. I’m afraid this is how he is everyday at school. Since I’ve been so busy launching my own career I haven’t gone to any of his school events for two years. Now I worry that things have been worse than I thought. The teachers don’t feel like there’s a problem since his behavior and grades are excellent. Though they did say at the student led parent teacher conference that he was “quiet.” Next year, he’ll be in 8th grade. His school is a smallish alternative public school with a Waldorf like philosophy. I’m worried what will happen when he goes to a huge public high school.

    Since he has so few friends he seems socially much younger and less mature than I believe I was at his age.

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