Tuesday, July 8, 2008


I'm STILL waiting on my books! I love their prices but I have been told in the past when the same thing happened that they don't have the "man power" to drop an e-mail to let you know when/if your order has been shipped. Hopefully tomorrow they will get here!

"Mouthing" didn't work. Not that Payton didn't think it was fun but its incrediblely hard to tell what someone is saying by mouthing the word....give it a try lol! We might still try this game though b/c "mouthing" a word is a step to communicating.

Therapy, tomorrow. I'll give an update on how it goes!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Do's and Don'ts for parents

The Do’s and Don’ts of Helping a Selectively Mute Child

1. Listen
2. Encourage
3. Parents should form a united team and work together to help the child
4. Parents should privately discuss the SM behaviors and create a plan they can both agree to.
5. Educate others; this is not “stubbornness” or willful behavior on the part of the child, as is commonly believed.
6. Reward communicative behavior (nodding, note writing, waving, etc.), not speech.
7. Build upon the child’s existing strengths (singing, use of funny voices, reading, etc.)
8. Know how and where the child communicates
9. Help the child build friendships one at a time
10. When ready, introduce the use of audio and video taping

1. Ask, “Did you talk today?”
2. Criticize the child for not talking
3. Put added pressure on the child by demanding speech or trying to trick him or her into speech
4. Forget to give as much attention and time to the other children in the household
5. Foster dependence. Instead, find ways to help him or her communicate with others nonverbally
6. Discuss the child and his or her problems in front of the child or the other children in the family.
7. Praise in public; this attention makes the child feel more self-conscious


Thursday, July 3, 2008

Another good article...

I came across this one today. Some helpful suggestions for a Selectively Mute child at school...


It suggests trying to have your child "mouth" the word. I don't know if she will try that in therapy or not but I'm going to bring it up. We tried about a month ago to get Payton to "blow" or make a noise (during therapy) and she wasn't ready at that point. Mouthing is silent though so maybe she'd be able to do it. I'm thinking about practicing at home and making it a game so maybe when we try it at therapy in a more anxious situation she'd be less anxious to try it. Mouthing would be excellent though for situations she doesn't have a pad of paper with her or she's trying to write something she can't spell. Mouthing is one step closer to whispering too...baby steps!

Still waiting on my new books! Hopefully they will be here today!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Payton's pic

I had a comment about Payton's pic on the right and her "silly" face. Just wanted to comment for anyone reading my blog who isn't familiar with SM. I selected this pic very intentially! The face and stance in this pic is very common for a child with SM. Often when they are anxious they will not be able to make eye contact, they have their head down, lip quivering, shoulders up and ridgid movement. SM kids find it hard to smile or have blank expressions when they are anxious too. She often has that stance when someone she doesn't know is taking the pic too...like this one that she refused to look up when we asked a stranger at Kings Island to snap a family pic really quick...

Anyways, I picked this pic not because she was being silly or anything like that but b/c it truely is "the face of a child with selective mutism."

building confidence

Payton had therapy again today. I brought up to April about how Paytons sensory issues are improving. Before Payton would only wear a VERY select few outfits and even more select selection of shoes. Lately she's more willing to try new outfits on and she's even worn a few outfits that didn't fit into her "very baggy, doesn't rub anywhere etc" category. Sunday for church she pulled out a pair of shoes that I bought for her Halloween costume last year that until now shes NEVER worn. Her therapist said she's not too surprised about this b/c as Payton's confidence builds, her anxiety starts to lessen and these things start to improve. I know it sounds totally unrelated that her sensory issues have anything to do with anxiety and SM but it's connected somehow. We are very happy to see improvement in this department! Last year when we went shoe shopping we tried on every shoe in the store and left empty-handed now more recently she's wear many more and many new outfits! Anyways, its good to see that even though we aren't verbal *yet* we are seeing improvements. We'll get there *someday!*

Sunday, June 29, 2008

This is HUGE!

As you guys know, people Payton meets in the "school setting" she can't talk to. It doesn't seem to matter if they are taken out of the school setting...if thats where she first encounters them she can't bring herself to talk to them after that. Payton was best friends with Lily at her school all last year but she of course never spoke to her. Today we got home from church and Lily had called and left a message for Payton. Payton was so excited and called her back and SPOKE to her. It was an amazing thing to witness! Best friends for a year but Payton had only communicated with her non-verbally, now sharing their FIRST verbal conversation! Payton asked her if she had any brothers or sisters and told her, her siblings names. She even invited her to come and play this week. Of course with 6 year olds they both agreed but didn't pick a date so I'll have to call her mom back this week. This is an amazingly huge step! Now if I could just talk Lily's parents into moving into our new neighborhood so they can be in 1st grade together lol!

Thursday, June 26, 2008


It's been a while since I've posted so I wanted to share where we're at. Payton started therapy in late April. We were told that progress is very slow for this type of therapy and short, frequent sessions are best. She's been seeing April once a week for an hour a session. We are making some progress. At first she would not whisper in front of April (we'd go in the hallway) but she's graduated into whispering to me in front of April. She's filling tablets of paper telling April things that way but no words yet. She really enjoys April though and tells me how she would love to talk to her "someday!"

We've had some exciting steps forward like telling the girl at Target "thank you" in the dressing room and talking to the neighbor boy who will be attending first grade with her. It seems people met in a non-school environment she is sometimes able to talk to in small amounts....we're hoping to make this work for us by making some new friends outside of school and then requesting they're in the same class. On the flip-side we've had some reminders of how being non-verbal STINKS....they mis-spelled her name on a VBS tag this week and she wasn't able to communicate this to her teacher and it really upset her that her name had been spelled wrong. They forgot to call her name to "pick a buddy" too but Payton wasn't able to communicate that either ;o( We've been sending a pad of paper and a pen to VBS every since so if she needs to talk, she can write in down. I told her teacher about it and instructed Payton to write it down and hold the paper above her head....it worked like a charm when she had to go to the bathroom today! yeah!

I ordered a few more books from sm.org last night also. "The Ideal Classroom..." was excellent so I ordered the other one by the same author. I also ordered a childrens book that looks really good! I hope maybe her teacher can read it to the class the first week to explain a little about Payton! Richie and I are working on making a card like the one in sm.orgs bookstore too of common things Payton would need to communicate and then she can point to it on the card. Hopefully that will help this school year!