Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sport and Selective Mutism

So this term we start a new journey, Soccer. Secretly I think I always wanted my boys to play soccer it seems to be the most favoured sport for me, but hey I wouldn't dream of influencing them in any way hehe. What is difficult to know is how does sport and a fear or speaking and being on show have an effect on SM will it make it worse or better, what is going to happen.

Fortunately my husband was asked to be the Coach which makes it a little easier as we don't have to explain anything to the Coach as such. The first week was a bit difficult it was quite humorous we had kids who had never been on a soccer field suddenly confronted with kids who were bigger more experienced and logically SCARY! Naturally a lot of the children really struggled, and I realised that anxiety can hit in many forms and maybe I had been thinking that I was in a isolated situation but it turns out that anxiety can affect more children than I realised.

Josiah really struggled he basically froze and did not move he was quite stuck it was hard to watch. But I decided that as long as he was on the field it was ok, he was having a go and that was all that counted. I had a little strategy I got Josiah to stand in front of the goals and he stopped three goals without moving a muscle so that was all good. So I realised my son doesn't have to be a star but he just needs to try and do his best and every time he tries he will get stronger. Also looking at the way Josiah enjoys practicing and play during practice it is worth it for that joy he has on his face. Also it means that he is interacting with other kids developing his social skills and maybe one day he will talk to one of them, we all live in hope hey.

After the first game this week they had a practice and they all said that they were really scared last Saturday. Some practice and drills and the team were totally different this week, they scored goals and played really well I was told (I had to miss the game I was away). Fear doesn't disappear when we choose to act on what we are scared off, instead it still exists and possibly effects us all, but it will decrease as we get stronger with faith and confidence. So after being totally petrified at the prospect of traumatising my son, it wasn't so bad and I think soccer might be great for him to get more confidence and overcome fear.

If anyone has any information on psychology, sport, children and even better SM and sport I would greatly appreciate it I am yet to find some articles about it.


  1. I also tried soccer with my son. It didn't work out after going to practice all week and him crying and tearing off his cleats for an hour....we gave up after a week. I knew that this was just making his anxiety worse. At that time I just thought he was shy and stubborn. Now that I look back I feel bad getting so up set with him. In about 3 weeks we have an appointment with a psychologist, so hopefully they will tell me if intact it is sm. I hope you find all the help that you need. And you Gould be so proud of your son for getting they his first weeks of soccer. Good luck!

  2. We did hold our breaths, just like with your experience with your son, it could have ended the same way. However he has managed to brave it very well, he has a ball at practice and he manages to stay on the field so we figure unless he shows any other signs we will let him keep going. We are hoping this will give him a chance to socialize with the kids in his class and not having to talk to interact.

  3. Wow! Reading your blog is like reading about my life. I have a 5 turning 6 year old son with SM and has started soccor this season under 6's. Our soccor story is exactly the same. It is very comforting to find people out there going through the exact same thing. I am so proud of my son, he kicked 2 goals in today, which was fantastic, even though they were at the wrong end of the goals. I have joined 2 forums tonight, which is very different for me, however I need to do anything to help me son.

  4. Anon - thanks very much please continue to read, getting support is the first step. That is part of the reason why I write, one it helps me and two I hope it helps others as well. What forums did you join? Where abouts are you from?