Update on my youngest son and selective mutism

Decca fishing in Louisiana.

I have written several posts about Decca’s struggle with selective mutism, and I wanted to post another update about the progress he has made this summer. This summer we spent three weeks on vacation visiting my family. We started our holiday in Louisiana visiting my younger brother. Decca has not spoken to my younger brother in years, and he didn’t during our whole trip.

Decca and Uncle Jimmy

He was clearly frustrated by this on the trip, and he tried to find ways to communicate with his Uncle. He invented Deccanesse (his term), and would speak this new language to my brother. He taught all of us some words in Deccanesse, and for the first time Decca was speaking to his uncle. It was wonderful and frustrating at the same time. I knew Decca wanted to speak to him normally, but he still was not able to.

Having snow balls with Uncle Jimmy in New Orleans

After spending a week with my brother we boarded a train and headed up to Indiana to visit more family. On the train I had a conversation with Decca about his mutism. I have had the same conversation with him numerous times. I told him that if he wanted to speak to anyone one in Indiana he could, and I assured him that no one would make a big deal out of it if he did. I also reminded him that everyone in the family had heard him speak before. I have told him all these things many times, but I wanted to make sure he remembered it all. I knew he wanted to speak to everyone, and I was just trying to reassure him that if he chose to, it would work out.

I will be honest in saying that although I hoped he would begin talking to my family, I did not have high hopes. Decca hasn’t spoken to many members of my extended family for over four years, and I wasn’t sure if it would ever happen. But it did, and it was an amazing thing to witness.

Decca talked to everyone from the moment we got there. The first person we saw was my dad, his Grandpa, and I don’t know what changed in Decca’s mind, but he went right up to him and started talking.

With some of my family in Indiana. Decca is completely at ease and happy to be with everyone.

Then my step-mom came out, and he started talking to her. I was beyond happy, but I didn’t want to say anything, as that would make him feel self-conscious. So we just went about our day, and Decca talked to everyone like it was the most normal thing in the world. Over the next two weeks we visited with many family members and old friends, and he talked to every single one of them. I was so happy for him and so proud of him.

With his siblings and two friends. Decca was able to interact with everyone, and he was able to have a good deal of fun because of it.

The day after we got back to California the kids had Apple Camp. I signed them up for this months ago and had forgotten it was right after we got home. I almost debated not going, as we were all tired, but the kids were looking forward to it, so we went.

Decca was enrolled in this last year, but he never talked to the teachers or the other students. He hardly opened his eyes last year, and he ended up sitting out most of the camp because it was just too much for him.

Happy at Apple Camp

I am excited to say that not only did Decca go to Apple camp, he participated, he talked to the other kids and to the two teachers, and he had fun. The first thing he asked me when it was all over was could he do it again next year. I honestly couldn’t believe it!

Decca has made so much progress this summer, but you might be wondering about Uncle Jimmy. Did he ever speak to him? I am happy to report that he did. After my brother heard Decca was talking to everyone else but him, he called me up. He couldn’t believe that he was the last person Decca wouldn’t talk to, so I put Decca on the phone to see what would happen. And guess what? Decca and his uncle had a conversation together. It was nothing important, but it brought tears to my eyes. It brought tears to my brother’s eyes too. It wasn’t the words spoken that was important, it was who was speaking them.

Decca at 4, shortly after he stopped speaking.

9 thoughts on “Update on my youngest son and selective mutism

  1. That was a happy trip for all of us because Decca was able to speak to everyone that he hadn’t spoken to before. His extended family (a big family) was happy to hear his voice once again. Yeah Decca!

  2. Visiting you from SHS – one of my children was on the borderline of selective mutism and I did a lot of research in those days – all to say I feel for your son and I also feel excited to read your story! What a lot of courage he had to start talking and keep talking 🙂 That’s brilliant.

  3. Pingback: Decca and his Uncle Jimmy | TAD Town

  4. This gives me so much hope! My daughter is 4 and a half and stopped speaking about 6 months ago. I found your blog by googling something about SM and conversation partners, and it just brings tears to my eyes to read about Decca. Thank you!!

    • I am glad you stopped by and read about my son. It was so hard for me when he stopped talking, and I wondered if he would ever start again. It took years, but he found his voice. I hope that your daughter finds hers again too.

  5. What a triumph for him! I don’t have this problem but have my share so I can empathize with how great it must have felt for you to have some “normal” time. I wish you and Decca the best for the future.

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