Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone!

I was recently reading online that children with SM have difficulty speaking to people they're already not talking to. In other words, it's easier to start talking to a stranger right off the bat than speak to someone with whom they've already established a pattern of silence. It's a really interesting point, and someone asked why this was. I can tell you that this was definitely the case with me. When I was a senior in high school, I was talking a little bit to my classmates, but I was still very withdrawn and suffering from various issues - depression,…
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Drugs and Alcohol and SM

As sort of a continuation from the previous article, where I mentioned medication can help as a tool. Drugs and alcohol can be in many ways similar to taking medication. Let me just say, in case you are reading this and you're a bit slow, DRUGS ARE BAD. I am not condoning drug taking, but I'd like to share my experiences with drugs, which may be limited, but hopefully will provide some insights, and you can take what you can out of it. My former roommates smoked weed every day (and snorted cocaine sometimes, but that's another story), and I…
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Medication and Therapy for SM

A question I'm often asked is what I think about medication for SM. Some people are very dogmatic in their belief that medication should never be used in children, like messing with the batter before the cookies are even baked. If you are like that, then more power to you because the natural ways are of course ideal. I do believe medication can help when used correctly. It can definitely be a great tool to physiologically lower your levels of anxiety. However, we have to realize it's only a tool, not the solution itself. If your child is young enough…
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Selective Mutism and Sports

One topic that I think isn't really discussed very much when it comes to SM is sports. Sports have helped a lot of kids who have SM to break through. I have met others who have cited things like soccer or ice skating as the impetus that helped them to start communicating verbally. When I used to play tennis, I'd notice that when I was playing, it was easier for me to talk once the tank was empty and I was tired out. Well, why is that? Let's look at why sports can be such a positive influence. I'm not…
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Emotional Regulation in SM Kids

A new study shows that children with selective mutism are more chronically over-aroused than children with social phobia alone. Although they outwardly appear similar to their social phobia counterparts, kids with sm struggle with a constant alertness more often than other kids. In the study led by Deborah Beidel, , ABPP, children with sm and children with social phobia were tested while playing the Nintendo Wii, with a device that measures skin conductance (like what a lie detector looks for, or what an 'e-meter' from the Church of Scientology measures - when something affects you emotionally, it responds). What Beidel found…
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Do’s And Don’ts of Working with Children with SM

Last August, 22 kids experienced the Brave Buddies program, where they were able to speak in situations they never thought was possible. If you don't know about this wonderful program, you can read more about it here. As a follow up, ABC published an article by Lauren Effron, featuring helpful examples by Dr. Steven Kurtz, on their website with tips on the do's and don'ts of working with children with SM, reproduced here verbatim: Kurtz  recommended these tips for parents with selectively mute children, but said this advice could help any parent improve communication with their child. 1. DO wait five seconds before you…
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