Finding Her Voice

If you asked me then where I thought we would be today I would have been very very wrong. It’s amazing to see how my daughter who would not talk to anyone when she was younger can talk their ear off now.

My daughter learned to talk at an early age. By the time she was one she was stringing words together. When she was in preschool however she would not talk to anyone other than her own family and in her own house. We were told she was very shy and would outgrow it. How were we to know otherwise.

Kelsey started kindergarten and still was not speaking to anyone other than us. It was then that we sought professional help. After doctors visits and evaluations she was diagnosed with selective mutism. Selective mutism is a disorder in which a person is capable of speaking but because of anxiety they can’t. It’s frustrating to the child and everyone around them.

Anxiety and selective mutism had a powerful grip on my daughter. She was miserable at school and would come home and fall apart. Not being able to communicate her wants and needs led to major meltdowns. Sometimes it took hours before she could finally calm down. I’ve said this before but when my child could not communicate it was like hell on earth. A hell on earth that not everyone can understand.

We chose to try medication to see if it would help her speak. It did. Soon after taking anxiety medication she started whispering to her teacher at school. Eventually the whispers turned into louder words not only to her teachers but to her peers as well. Medication worked for her and improved the quality of her life. Kelsey had found her voice. The frustration and meltdowns were beginning to lessen and she was able to start moving ahead.

Today as a young adult she still has difficulty in unfamiliar situations and with unfamiliar people. Through the years it’s something we have learned to expect. We have also learned how to handle it. When she is comfortable and the conversation is right however, she can and will talk your ear off.

It seems like another lifetime when we were in the clutches of selective mutism. We fought hard and never gave up. Long gone are those days of silence and meltdowns. Kelsey’s voice was found!

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