Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Concerned... (updated at end)

Over the last couple of days, I've had a few conversations with parents of older children about selective mutism, or the sudden inability of a child to speak, usually triggered by an event or events in his or her life.  One parent had been concerned about her child's sudden loss of speech several years ago.  I reached out into my network and another very wise and knowledgeable parent brought up the term of selective mutism and its possible causes, making a therapist recommendation for Parent #1 that I will be sure to pass along. 

Lastnight, at a Mom's Night Out within our local Ds community, a mom spoke about her child's ability to become obsessed with things, such as TV shows, certain episodes, a character, whatever, and in her child's defense, several of us recalled having been obsessed with much of the same when we, ourselves, were children.  I think it's definitely a very typical thing.  I suspect that in people with Down syndrome, however, due to some of the obsessive/compulsive tendencies that come along with that extra chromosome, those obsessions may take a bit longer to outgrow or to move beyond.  I mentioned Sammi's obsessions with certain TV shows, requesting to watch particular episodes again and again and again...

Fast forward to this morning, when the stars began to cataclysmically collide align...

Samantha, whose obsessions I'm usually fairly happy to indulge, requested, while eating her breakfast, to watch her favorite episode of Arthur, one where Arthur's sister, DW, loses her voice.  Pretty much every day for the last few months, Samantha has pretended to lose her voice for a few minutes at a time.  I'll pretend I'm happy about how quiet it is, and a few minutes later she'll grin and cheerfully say, "Okay, my voice is back!"

This time, after the episode ended, she did her usual. 

But this time she didn't speak again. 

She maintained the charade through getting dressed, brushing her teeth, putting on her shoes and coat, getting into the car, driving to school, walking into school, greeting her teachers and classmates (with a wave or a hug, rather than with her usual happy "hello!"), unpacking her backpack... 

Not a peep

It was creepy

And the thing that made it even more creepy was that she was in a fantastic mood!  She was totally happy, not sullen or stubborn. 

Just. not. talking. 

And trust me, this is a kid that does. not. shut. up. 

I put her teachers on high alert, and have been assured that I will receive an e-mail when anything changes.  I wonder how long she can keep this up.  Will it become some weird thing where she suddenly forgets how to talk after getting so caught up in the game?  Will the stubborn gene take over and force her not to relent?  Will this be some tragic lesson to us to never take anything for granted agan? 

I'll tell you what, though, I'll be checking my e-mail religiously today...


Update:  Okay, so I tend to panic when anything strange or out of the ordinary happens.  And what happened this morning was definitely strange and out of the ordinary.  Fortunately, by the time I got to work and checked my e-mail, there was a message from her teacher titled, "Chatty Cathy is Back."  Whew!  Did I worry for nothing?  Probably, but I think with our chromosomally-enhanced kids, or, honestly, with kids in general, you just never know.  I always figure it's better to be safe than sorry, to start strategizing solutions and gathering advice.  Thanks for listening!!

6 comments:

Anna Theurer said...

How can we, as mama bears, not panic and worry? We have learned that life is so fragile and that our kids have to work harder at everything so to see something different pop up. . . I will tell you this, Miss Sammi is stubborn! I doubt I could last 5 minutes not talking :-)

Becca said...

Stubborn doesn't even *begin* to describe her!! And in this case, at least, *tenacious.* I had no idea she could be quiet for that long. Seriously, that kid lives to talk and be heard.

Lisa said...

I would completely freak out if Cate didn't talk for 5 minutes much less that long. She is a major self talker so even when she is alone she is chatting up a storm trying to figure it all out. Interesting there is such a thing as selective mutism. You learn something new every day!

Chromosomally Enhanced said...

Interesting! But way crazy..I bet you missed that sweet voice! But yeah for Samantha in follow through...smiles

Cindy said...

I've never heard of selective mutism, interesting. I bet you were waiting, expecting any second she would start talking again! Glad it all worked out. Do you think you'll let her watch that episode ever again? :)

Rochelle said...

As always I am impressed with Sammi's ability to see it and know exactly what is going on and follow through. I know it was creepy but, I am pretty impressed with her typical skills! LOL