In October of 2010 I met with my son's new teacher for the first time at the typical parent-teacher conference. She seemed so friendly, that I knew he must have felt at home in her classroom.  It only took a matter of moments before I realized something about this meeting seemed off. My son, who had not gotten into trouble at school once since kindergarten, hadn't been participating in class. At all! Frozen in disbelief, I allowed her to continue. She looked me in the eyes & said "Andrew doesn't talk in class". (Which I assumed was a good thing cosidering that his kindergarten year he was labeled the class clown & sited for excessive talking.) She went on to say, "He doesn't talk to me either". I informed her that he is simply shy by nature, just as I was as a child, and that as he grew more comfortable with her, I'm sure he will open up more. She gave me a concerned look that immediately got my attention and said "I've never heard his voice".

Those words shattered my heart! Suddenly I realized, she must have Drew confused with some other child. We had taken the appointment time of some other parent that was a no show. That's what it was, just a mix up. She was talking about someone else's child. There was just no way she could have been talking about my  little chatterbox. The only time that boy doesn't talk is when he's sleeping; and sometimes not even then.

There was no mix up. She hadn't confused my son with some other child. She was talking about Drew. She continued talking and even explained to me how he got through the school day without ever speaking. She explained that she gave him the option of sitting out during certain activities that invloved speaking. Most of what she said was a blur. I was still trying to comprehend that she was talking about my son when she said two words that will forever change my life "Selective Mutism".

I looked at her as if she were speaking to me in a long forgotten language. "What is she talking about?", I thought to myself. She told me that she had explained to a fellow teacher that she had a student whom never spoke. After going over the situation with the other teacher the words "Selective Mutism" were brought into the equation. The other teacher had previously had a student that exhibited the same characteristics as Drew and that child was diagnosed with having Selective Mutism, something the teacher, nor the parents had ever heard of.

I also had never heard of it, but it couldn't possibly be something that was affecting my son! He's always been perfect and healthy in every way! I needed to get out of that classroom and get  home to my son before I crumbled right in front of this lady! I needed to get home & hear my son's voice. I wanted to hear about his day at school. What he learned today, who he sat by at lunch, the games he played at recess. I wanted him to tell me all about the new kicks he learned at Taekwondo. I wanted him to liquify my brain with his knowledge of Star Wars and all things foreign to me. I wanted him to ramble on and on until his voice was all I could hear until long after he had fallen asleep. I immediately regretted every time I'd ever silenced his questions, ramblings, or constant chatter.

I wanted the past hour to be a nightmare that would all be over as soon as my alarm clock went off. Come on clock! I'm counting on you. I need this to be a dream. My son is perfect and happy! He's always so happy. This is just a dream.

For an instant before I opened the door, I thought to myself, "Did I imagine all of it?" "My son had a voice, didn't he?" "Hadn't I heard that sweet voice grow and change day after day since he was born?" "Had I imagined it all this time?" "Am I going crazy?" I walked into the front door of our house and could hear the quiet echoes of my children playing in their rooms. I hear him. He changes his voice as he switches between "being" the good and bad lego characters. It is music to my ears.

I walk to his bedroom door and watch him play for an instant, but I just couldn't contain myself, I needed to hold my sweet baby in my arms & tell how much I love him and cherish him. I rush over to him and scoop him into my lap on the floor. He looks up at me with his great big, beautiful smile and says "Hey Mommy, I didn't know you were here".  I squeezed him tight as I felt my hot tears burning my cheeks. "I'll always be here" I thought to myself. He felt my tears drip onto his shoulder and he leaned back to see my face. He gave me a big hug and then took his tiny hand and wiped my cheek and said "It will be okay Mama, don't worry." I believe him.

10/14/2013 7:58am

When planning for a year, plant corn. When planning for a decade, plant trees. When planning for life, train and educate people.


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    Riki Jones

    I'm a mother of 2 incredible children. Andrew & Natalie. My goal with this website, (along with the Facebook group and page) is to spread awareness of this heartbreaking disorder that affects so many children, including my own son, Andrew.

    My son Andrew.


    May 2012


    Selective Mutism