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Olivia_H
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09 Sep 2019, 5:21 am

Did any of you have selective mutism as a child? And if so, has it come with you into adulthood?

As a child, there were situations where I just was unable to speak in certain situations. I'm not sure why it happened.
It also happens sometimes now, and I'm 24. In certain situations my first instinct is to just shut off things like speech.



EzraS
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09 Sep 2019, 7:22 am

A condition of classic severe autism is being nonverbal. Which has to do with how the autistic brain is wired. I suspect that selective mutism in less severe autism is tied to that.

I started out with classic severe nonverbal autism. And even though I developed into having more moderate autism and began to talk, it is still something I am not completely wired for. So I can lose the ablity for a period of time pretty easily.



SharonB
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09 Sep 2019, 7:31 am

I feel that way now (late 40s), but nobody notices. I guess mine are micro-mutes relative to my otherwise stream of thought preference. It's more an internal experience for me.



timf
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09 Sep 2019, 8:46 am

Both my daughters had this. It was obviously anxiety related. As they came into their later teens, it started to abate as they had gained more control over and comfort with their environment with a proportional reduction in anxiety.



kraftiekortie
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09 Sep 2019, 8:49 am

It's possible I had "selective" mutism until I was 5 1/2 years old.

It's possible I "voluntarily" didn't say my first words until I was 5 1/2 years old. I had no verbal speech until then.

Then again, it's possible that I had a "neurological miracle," so to speak, and "emerged out" of my autism.



IsabellaLinton
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09 Sep 2019, 8:58 am

I'm formally assessed with selective mutism and ASD. I've had the condition my entire life but it is much more pronounced now in adulthood since I've had an autistic breakdown. My speech completely shuts off, physically and mentally. I don't know what to say, and nor do I have the energy or motivation to say anything.

Mine has always been more pronounced with my family than with strangers, in part because one is expected to share emotions with their family. I have severe alexithymia so I don't understand my emotions, I get stressed, and my speech shuts off like a light switch. In public I can usually mask and fake it enough to tolerate basic exchanges, but it's demanding as well.



SaveFerris
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09 Sep 2019, 9:01 am

Is anyone here with selective mutism able to communicate via txt , paper & pen etc when they are at their worst


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IsabellaLinton
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09 Sep 2019, 9:10 am

Actually, I have! When I can't find the words to speak to my nephew I often have long conversations with him on Facebook Messenger. This happens even when he's in my house or sometimes in the same room. It's easier to type than to speak verbally which involves too many stressors (Do I hug him, Do I make eye contact, Do I cry? What if he cries? What if my voice sounds monotone and he thinks I don't care but I really do? What if I sound flippant or sarcastic? What if I say something but can't edit or take it back after I start the sentence? What if I lose the ability to speak in the midst of a thought?)

With typing I can take my time. I can even use google or an online thesaurus to find the words I need. I can edit, delete ... most importantly I can also save the entire conversation for future reference.

That said, I don't do this with my mother (she doesn't text or use a computer at all). I end up being virtually silent when I see her, even on special occasions.



dragonsanddemons
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09 Sep 2019, 9:22 am

I have selective mutism, both now and when I was a child.

When I'm at my absolute worst, I can't even think of the words needed to communicate, but a lot of the time I can communicate by writing or using a text-to-speech app on my phone.


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Justin101
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10 Sep 2019, 7:35 am

In groups I sometimes didn't say a word and, if pushed to speak, it became almost physically painful. Even , when stressed, one to one talking could be hard.

These problems have decreased with age but still occur.

Writing is so much easier. One can express feelings and thoughts with little hindrance.

Strangely I find telephone conversation sometimes as hard as in person talking.

On a separate note, why is there a PM facility on this site when it apparently is never/rarely used? Connected to mutism...?!



Juliette
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10 Sep 2019, 4:24 pm

Yes, this was me. I wrote about my experience, here ... a teacher at one point tried to “ make” me speak. He should never have entered the profession. Anxiety is definitely our most dominant emotion. Despite not speaking at school, I was a prolific writer, reader from about the age of 3 yrs .... Autism, Mutism & Early Childhood



ToughDiamond
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10 Sep 2019, 7:19 pm

Strangely, in my case I can't remember being selectively mute as a child but I became like that when I got older. I'm nearly always able to speak if I'm prompted to say something and if the question or whatever is clear and the atmosphere is friendly, but otherwise I might say little or nothing. It's like a switch gets thrown when I recognise the people I'm with as being wrong for me, and either it feels too dangerous to speak, or I can't think of anything to say. I can usually run a script to say hello and goodbye, but sometimes even there they don't let me get a word in edgeways. When I'm quiet everybody tends to forget I'm there, so once the mutism thing has kicked in, it gets progressively harder to break my silence. I hate it when it goes bad like that, and I always try to keep away from people I react towards in that way so it doesn't get to happen so much.



darkwaver
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10 Sep 2019, 8:05 pm

It will happen to me in times of stress or fear, such as being confronted by an angry person. I can still understand what is said to me in a somewhat attenuated way, but in my mind there are no words at all - the whole concept of speech just temporarily vanishes.