Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Introduction to Selective Mutism an overview

To make things easier I have written a short (11) slide presentation on Selective Mutism. I have added this onto my facebook blog page but for all of those who don't have facebook I will add them here also. If you are on facebook please head on over and like my blog page, add me to an interest list so I am not lost in the pages feed too! (more instructions on the blog page)

Without further discussion.

A common misconception of issue of confusion is that the child is able to speak but not in all situations. So often a child can be seen to speak at home or at safe places such as Grandma's house but unable to speak a word say at school or at a restaurant.

Entering school is a important opportunity to recognise the symptoms of Selective Mutism.

Please not avoidance is not a behavioural issue, the child is living in constant fear and the step of avoiding a situation will relieve the feelings of anxiety. When one is stuck in flight, fight of freeze, logic does not apply in these situations.

If the child is able to speak when you are not in the room or whisper to someone else this is not a sign of being stubborn or willful. Be grateful that your school environment is safe enough for the child to speak at all. Some children are not able to speak a word in school.

During diagnosis it is important to take into consideration simple issues such as a hearing impairment. So it is vital during the workup of diagnosis that a child's hearing is tested, their speech assessed, to ensure that there is no other cause besides Selective Mutism. Also note that children with Selective Mutism can have speech delays which complicates because the child is not able to hear and repeat language as often as others.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Grant me the serenity....

The cry of every parent with a child with special needs, is usually a lack of something we have to fight for so much respite, services, finances and so much more. The constant fighting advocacy can in itself become a black whole. A place where it is hard to think of much else, it consumes your thoughts, much of your time and energy. If we are not careful it can overwhelm us and make dealing with our situations harder. 

For two months I have been rather busy as part of my post birth journey my baby was 9 months old, I felt I was ready to start to attempt to lose weight. I joined up to an online weight loss club that cost a mere $19.95 on 12 month contract. To do something for me. The cost of having two kids with special needs and the thought of what was going to change was beginning to take it's toll.

What has surprised me the most is that my situation has not changed not at all. But what I could control me, did. Regardless of how much weight I have lost (so stoked I have lost 10 kg's so far), I feel better in myself happier. It is still a bit crazy and I am considering the commitments I have the appointments I am attending and making sure in the new year I am really careful with what I choose to take on. Something for me was just what I needed. 

Now... I am sure you must be thinking the following things:
  • I simply don't have the energy to exercise
  • Where would I find the time (whose going to look after the kids)
  • I don't have the money
  • I don't have the clothes
What I am encouraging you to do if your not already make some changes to your lifestyle just for you, is it healthy eating, exercise or sleep hmm that is a little harder I still have a baby remember!! There is always something small that we can do to make our lives healthier. Nothing drastic just keep it simple and take notice of what you can do, where your life is at and what your commitments are. 

After all of this happening, I had some strength to try again for some help with respite after my disastrous last attempt you can read my account here. Admittedly I got someone else to call up and find out if I was eligible first, I was not ready to go through that experience again. However I had enough strength to ask after it had been checked out, good news apparently I am eligible after all who would have thought and my two children are eligible, who knows what to do with the baby yet:). So it is nice to know that I can get some respite and also some help for my eldest to get help for the swimming lessons he needs for his therapy and joint strengthening. 

So be brave, do something for you! Whatever that might look like. Ask about respite if you need it, even get someone else to ask for you first if you need to. In all of this I have been considering the Serenity prayer, thinking on the words I have come to the conclusion to avoid the black hole we all need to consider what we can't change (or who) and what we can and direct our energy into the right place. I will leave you to think on the words of this poem (I wasn't aware there was a second verse).

God grant me the serenity 
To accept the things I cannot change; 
Courage to change the things I can; 
And wisdom to know the difference. 

Living one day at a time; 
Enjoying one moment at a time; 
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; 
Taking, as He did, this sinful world 
As it is, not as I would have it; 
Trusting that He will make all things right 
If I surrender to His Will; 
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life 
And supremely happy with Him 
Forever and ever in the next.