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27 Jan 2010, 6:00 am

I'm a little unclear about what this means. As a child I had no trouble speaking with family but in school and in social situations I was silent. More often than not, it was not because of a blank mind (although that did happen) but extreme social anxiety. Is this what they mean by selective mutism or is it more a matter of wanting to say something but being unable to because of some disruption between brain and mouth? I gradually improved but after meds my anxiety decreased and I was more able to say something out loud. Ironically, people responded to me more positively when I kept my mouth shut. :roll: They thought I had an air of mystery or something.


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Irisrises
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27 Jan 2010, 6:10 am

I'm extremely quiet but I think selective mutism is more than that, I think it's when people literally cannot get words out even though they want to. I know a man who is entirely non-verbal, but he can say 'mama' (he's in his fifties) so he's not lacking vocal chords or anything, it's just that language and thoughts are not connecting in the brain. I think for people with selective mutism this happens only sometimes, rather than always.



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27 Jan 2010, 6:21 am

Irisrises wrote:
I'm extremely quiet but I think selective mutism is more than that, I think it's when people literally cannot get words out even though they want to. I know a man who is entirely non-verbal, but he can say 'mama' (he's in his fifties) so he's not lacking vocal chords or anything, it's just that language and thoughts are not connecting in the brain. I think for people with selective mutism this happens only sometimes, rather than always.


That makes sense to me but when I Google it they seem to talk more about social anxiety being the cause. I'll do some more reading but I'd still like to hear more input from people here.

Actually the difference in me before and after meds is before meds I self edited so much nothing would come out and after meds I self edited much much less. Those qualities of Asperger's were more evident.

Also I was not medicated until middle age.


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Luzhin
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27 Jan 2010, 7:47 am

I'm certainly no expert so can only tell you from experience. For me, I stuttered and stammered so bad as a child I CHOSE not to speak to anyone, family or not; it was more hassle than it was worth. But, for my 8 yo son; he just CANNOT speak unless it's around the immediate family. He says he really wants to but it just 'doesn't work'.



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27 Jan 2010, 7:48 am

I think selective mutism by definition means mutism by choice, such as in certain stressful situations.



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27 Jan 2010, 8:02 am

Well here's link that describes it as not a choice but is treated like an anxiety disorder. I think my problems as an adult were more extreme self editing but as a child more anxiety related.

http://www.speechdisorder.co.uk/Selective-Mutism.html


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Luzhin
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27 Jan 2010, 1:37 pm

An interesting note; I thought my son might be interested in sign language so I taught him a few of the basics. Of course he jumped on it and has gotten fairly good. Anyway, I noticed the other day in a semi-social situation that if he was asked anything he would just stare at the person and say nothing as usual. But his right hand, which was pretty much behind him, was quickly 'spelling' out the responses.



leschevalsroses
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27 Jan 2010, 1:39 pm

With selective mutism the child can physically not speak because of anxiety.



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27 Jan 2010, 2:49 pm

leschevalsroses wrote:
With selective mutism the child can physically not speak because of anxiety.


I'm an adult and I still get it from time to time.


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27 Jan 2010, 2:55 pm

I was like that when I young and I thought it was just me that was like that... Whenever when I go outside, I would always not say a single word, even when people would try talk to me, I would shake my head yes or no. :lol:


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leschevalsroses
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27 Jan 2010, 2:57 pm

SabbraCadabra wrote:
leschevalsroses wrote:
With selective mutism the child can physically not speak because of anxiety.


I'm an adult and I still get it from time to time.


Just out of curiosity, is it like a panic attack when you get that or is it just something you get with anxiety?



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27 Jan 2010, 3:55 pm

I wouldn't say it is a panic attack (I've had the same problem). It is more anxiety. I hate not being able to speak. It only happens sometimes, in the past mainly at school. When I get it, I know what I want to say and I open my mouth to speak but nothing comes out. It's very frustrating.


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27 Jan 2010, 4:45 pm

I was certainly selectively mute as a child. Now? I do not know. Talking just stresses me out and often times I do not realize someone is speaking to me, or that they want a response from me, so I just do not talk around anyone other than my family. So I guess I still am.



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27 Jan 2010, 5:40 pm

leschevalsroses wrote:
With selective mutism the child can physically not speak because of anxiety.


Then I would say there were times I have experienced that but it would manifest as a completely blank mind. There have been times when I know I should say something but because I'm so socially anxious all I've got available up there is white noise. That was another one of the unexpected side benefits of antidepressants is I don't experience that so much anymore. I'm not sure if this is technically the same thing but it's pretty distressing anyway.


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27 Jan 2010, 6:23 pm

With me as a child there were many times I wanted to say something but physically couldn't. I had the exact words in my head, they just wouldn't make it to my mouth. It wasn't by choice. It just didn't go. I'm sure it was anxiety driven but it wasn't like a panic attack. It was more like just freezing and locking up.

Still happens as an adult but allot less frequent. I'm not sure if that means I have grown out of it or if I have gotten better at avoiding the scenarios where it will happen? I don't plan on conducting expiraments to find out either.