Sunday, January 18, 2015


We learned really early on that not a lot of people know about Selective Mutism.  We heard "he is just stubborn" "he will out grow it" and " he is just pretending" a lot

I also got the look a lot - you know the look- the one that judges you as a parent, the one that says oh so you did this.  Heaped on top of the guilt I already felt - was I too strict, not strict enough, was it genetic, was sending him to preschool too stressful?  What had I done or not done to make my beautiful, smart, funny boy stop speaking?
And why was there no one in our tiny isolated northern town who could help us. We felt alone.

So we ventured into the internet- trying to wade through it and find that one journal article that would cure our boy or at least help him to speak to us.  While there are lots of brilliant scholarly articles there many out there that blame the parents especially the mom.  And as a mom who was already struggling with the loss of her sons voice this hurt more than I ever could have imagined, I began to doubt myself more - I cried - a lot - I felt so much guilt and even though I knew deep down that I didn't cause big guy's selective mutism  seeing "experts" lay the blame on mom's everywhere was devastating.

Then one day,not long after reading those articles, I woke up  I realized I didn't cause it. Selective mutism is a mental health disorder and I didn't cause it but I could do everything to help my son.  We would be his therapist if none were available, we would be the experts if there weren't any near us and the wait lists in other towns were too long (we were on the wait list 20 months before moving - we are now on a new wait list in another province).

And so we delved back into the journal articles and studies and we began reading.

Friday, January 16, 2015

the quietest day

November 2nd 2012 the day my almost 4 year old said "I  not going to speak again till my Papa comes home." The first day I didn't worry, nor the second, on day three I was upset and on day four I was in tears. I begged, I bribed, his brother and sister tried to get him to speak, his friends, teachers everyone.  He had just stopped speaking -after two weeks his Papa was back, but his words were not.

His Papa didn't worry the first day, nor the second, but within a few days he too was worried.  It was nearly three weeks since we had heard our little boys voice. No "I love you" s no laughter, no silly stories not a single sound.

A visit to our family doctor told us that Jean might have "selective mutism" a little know social anxiety disorder.  Our (fantastic) doctor referred us to a paediatric resident who confirmed the earlier diagnosis and ruled out several very scary diseases.

We headed home with a name for what it was that our son had but we were still at a loss. What had caused his selective mutism, why wouldn't he talk to anyone, and what could we do to make it better?

Sunday, January 11, 2015


One day my then three year old son stopped talking and for the next six months he did not utter a single word to a single person.  Not a single word.  To anyone ever.

Tests, visits to doctors, at home therapy, tears lots and lots of tears, guilt and sorrow.

And then one day he spoke again but just to us and despite all our best efforts, therapy, friends and family he still hasn't spoken to anyone else in 3 years.

These are our adventures in selective mutism - a misunderstood and little known disability that can manifests it self differently in every person it effects.