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It's been a while; life is crazy, but looking for some advice.. may actually have another thread shortly.

3.5 year old son has been home with a nanny since our girls were born in 2011. Prior to that, he was in daycare full-time. In September, he started preschool 3 days a week for 3 hours each day.

My concern is around his speaking and it has become more so since he started school. He never speaks in class. He doesn't play with the others kids; he 'plays on the side'. He knows all the words to every song -- he teaches them to me and his sisters. He loves school; he crafts, is excited to go, brings things from home to show his teachers but doesn't speak.

If this were pure shyness, I don't think he'd interact at all and that's not the case; he just won't speak and that is starting to limit him in different situations. Today, his teacher was gently trying to get him to speak with choice questions like: "Would you like the blue or red crayon"; he only gestures or points to respond.

He's verbal at home; his speech is measured and careful but except when he's very upset he can communicate clearly (when he's upset he can't talk). Outside our immediate family and nanny, he is still reserved, but will say a few words to people we are close to. With anyone else he will smile and gesture/nod/bring books/show toys, but won't speak. We do some practice talking for different situations, but other than home situations (communicating verbally when upset), it hasn't appeared to make a difference.

Those of you who 'know' me know that myself and my husband are pretty quiet and introverted; we don't socialize a lot, so he probably hasn't had opportunity outside our nanny to observe us (our nanny talks non-stop and is a social butterfly).

I will be meeting with his lead teacher this month to see what she thinks; we've only had a few minutes here and there to chat on this at drop-off/pick-up.

I was curious if anyone had input/thoughts on next steps. I don't want to make a mountain out of a molehill and I'm certainly not looking to change who he is, but if there's anything I can be doing to help him handle these situations, would like to do so.
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Could you talk to the other parents and see if you can start setting up playdates with some of his classmates one on one at your house? Maybe if he gets to play regularly with just one kid (instead of a passel) at home with his own toys he might make friends with a few of them and start opening up at class.

Lara Amber
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myself and my husband are pretty quiet and introverted


Introversion is where my mind went. Hobbes, an introvert, was pretty similar at age 3.5 - and at 7.75 in certain group circumstances, will definitely choose to do stuff off to the side if he can.

But, then, i remembered that Tigger, an extrovert and age 4.75, is like that sometimes. He's comfortable and friendly with the kids and teachers at school and Mom's Day Out, many he's known for over three years. During the lead up to both Christmas programs, he would sing all the songs by heart and with gusto and talk about how excited he was for the shows. At the programs themselves? He became Cindy Brady when the red light came on.

So, yeah, it may just be who he is at this moment. As for next steps, there's nothing wrong with practicing speaking up - as he gets older, you'll be better able to explain why it's important. I still have to explain to Hobbes why he needs to communicate with those around him - he seems to think we're all mind readers. His teacher (at a small Montessori school) is great about partnering with us to help him improve these life skills by practicing them regularly in a familiar comfort zone.
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It's impossibly to really tell just from a post on here if it's shyness or more. But IF it's more, it sounds like it could be the beginnings of selective mutism. Basically selective mutism occurs when a person acquires language normally, but then does not speak at all in certain situations. It's an anxiety based condition.

One thing you might think about doing is as a family doing some kid's yoga dvds or something like that. Learning to relax his body and control his breathing will be really helpful if he does have anxiety, but it can also be really helpful for everyone in life. So it's a step you could take that will help him if there is a problem, but also isn't jumping the gun. And since it's not directly related to him not talking, it won't add pressure. It's just something fun you can do together. My kids love the Yoga Kids series, and the Silly to Calm dvd has a lot of breathing exercises.

IDK if that helps.

DEG
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Again, from the limited info given, I'm seconding that you could consider looking into selective mutism. It is not a very well known condition, in my experience.

I have a good friend who has a child with it, if you'd like, PM me, I know she has a ton of links and material on the subject.

Marianne
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doesn't Moxie have anything to say on this?


peace & the oracle
t
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doesn't Moxie have anything to say on this?


You rang?

https://www.google.com/search?q=selective+mutism&btnG=%C...
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Thank you all for your responses. I really appreciate it and apologize for the tardiness here. It's been hard for me to get online except from my phone and this site is not readable from the phone.

Lara: We haven't done playdates. Part is how busy we are with the kids. ; part because most moms I know outside of work are SAH and don't want to do anything weekends; part because we're exhausted. I just don't even know how to do that or who to reach out to. He won't say any of his classmates names and he says he has no friends there. (Okay, yes I know this is a copout answer and I feel stupid, but I can't make friends for myself -- I have no idea how one builds relationships.)

DEG: Thanks for the recommendations; I have one Yoga video we like to do, but could use more and breathing would be good! I like doing this with the kids on a cooped up day. (http://www.amazon.com/Storyland-Yoga-Kids-Families-ages)

I'd heard of selective mutism but don't know too much about it; Mazie -- will be PMing you for more information. I'll ask his teachers if they've had kids with it as well and if it feels right, will followup with his doctor.

Again, appreciate all the responses. Will follow up when I have more.
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We haven't done playdates. Part is how busy we are with the kids. ; part because most moms I know outside of work are SAH and don't want to do anything weekends; part because we're exhausted. I just don't even know how to do that or who to reach out to. He won't say any of his classmates names and he says he has no friends there. (Okay, yes I know this is a copout answer and I feel stupid, but I can't make friends for myself -- I have no idea how one builds relationships.)


Quick driveby 'cos i have to leave for an appointment...

Many communities have "playgroups" as part of their early intervention programs. So, if you find he's eligible for those programs, ask about it.
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I just don't even know how to do that or who to reach out to. He won't say any of his classmates names and he says he has no friends there.

I know this won;t help you with him in class, (and is hard with three after a full day of work) but show up at the local library - especially if there is an evening "playgroup"
f there is not- ask if they would start one on a Wednesday (or whatever)

(Okay, yes I know this is a copout answer and I feel stupid, but I can't make friends for myself -- I have no idea how one builds relationships.)

repetition
Just keep showing up - same bat-time, same bat channel...

Do you live anywhere near concordiax?
(In my head you guys are right-next-door)
She might know some groups.

peace & planning
t
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We haven't done playdates. Part is how busy we are with the kids. ; part because most moms I know outside of work are SAH and don't want to do anything weekends; part because we're exhausted. I just don't even know how to do that or who to reach out to. He won't say any of his classmates names and he says he has no friends there. (Okay, yes I know this is a copout answer and I feel stupid, but I can't make friends for myself -- I have no idea how one builds relationships.)

A lot of community centers 'round these parts offer classes and sports for wee little kids - soccer is one that I am reasonably sure starts at 3ish at a place here and there. Tennis too.

And Niece always had a blast at what she called "Dora" school - they had weekend and/or summer school type classes that were about Spanish culture and Diego and Dora themed. And she was so mute in class she didn't speak to her teacher at preschool THE WHOLE FIRST YEAR. Seriously wouldn't speak to the woman until Year 2, but would be all "BLAB BLAB BLAB" when she got home.

So. Anyway. Perhaps start with Community Centers in your area? The activity level in the sports and classes would give your son a chance to be present and interact at his own pace, since there's a lot of ball-kicking or macaroni-glueing, but also since they are short in duration he gets a breather afterwards to regroup.

impolite
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Nearly all of the community sponsored activities in town are (again) during the day and for SAHP at his age. Which is funny, because I know our town doesn't actually have a majority SAHP for small kids, though it sure feels like it! Soccer might start next year after he is 4 and we were planning on that.. that is a good idea. There is an evening library storytime we could attend once a week -- the girls are too young to go, so that would be a good activity for him to do with one parent and maybe we'd meet people. He loves the library.

I'm planning to sign him up for weekend swimming or music (music is important to us as a family; husband still plays guitar/bass/drums, I used to play several different instruments); have some calls out on that, but yeah, that's less interactive than the sports.

We tried gymnastics a year ago to a spectacular fail; he refused to participate for many weeks running.. He is older now though. :-)

There's a woman down the street with two sons; one older and one younger. I should get her info and find out what they do.

You guys are shaming me. I appreciate the kicks. We've never settled into this area; our friends are still in the city (and sans kids); I guess it is time to give it a good try.

<pityparty>Can you tell I hate people myself? Or maybe it's that I'm barely coping myself with everything and to think of adding more crap on top of it feels terribly overwhelming. </pityparty>

One thing at a time, right?

pachouly
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