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Talking problem

(36 Posts)
patriciaann71 Thu 07-Dec-17 12:10:17

My 6yrs old granddaughter will not speak to adults. At school she will answer teacher’s questions but that’s it. Otherwise she's (surprisingly) very popular with her peers and very chatty. Should I worry? By the way, she has a 7yrs old brother who was quite shy but by the age of 5 he was chatting happily to everyone. Also I would add that my granddaughter appears to be very clever.

vampirequeen Thu 07-Dec-17 12:31:00

Perhaps it's time to get her checked over by GP just to play safe. That said, DGS3, although younger, won't speak when adults are around yet when he's at home with his mam, dad and siblings he chats ten to the dozen. I know he can speak because DD records him. We've even played the recordings back to him but he just smiles shyly and looks down. I taught an elective mute many years ago. Now she's grown up and runs her own business so children can simply grow out of it.

grannyactivist Thu 07-Dec-17 12:37:55

In your shoes I would most definitely not be worried; here we have a little girl who is bright, chatty with her peers, answers teacher's questions - so what exactly is the problem? As a teacher I met lots of children who didn't feel comfortable talking to adults, they mostly grow out of it by year 6. smile

grannyactivist Thu 07-Dec-17 12:39:43

By the way - my own son didn't like speaking to adults and only got comfortable with it when he went to high school.

Jane10 Thu 07-Dec-17 12:44:36

I don't know what a GP could do to 'check it out'. She's only young. She clearly can talk when she wants to or needs to. Don't draw attention to it and give her time.

Franbern Thu 07-Dec-17 14:20:44

It is likely that at some time or the other, someone has said to this child - don't speak to strangers, or something like that. Children can often take such words quite literally. As long it is known that she can speak normally, and hear okay - then she will just grown out of this phase.

Eglantine21 Thu 07-Dec-17 15:33:18

I had a child in my class who was an elective mute. Within the first few minutes of meeting her it became apparent that her parents anxiety led them to prompt her almost constantly "Say yes to the teacher" or to bombard her with questions trying to illicit a response "This is a nice classroom isn't it?"

It was a nursery class and many of the children were happy to play alongside her without talking to her directly, just talking to themselves as young children do. Within a week she was talking to the other children. They demanded nothing from her so she could converse on her own terms.

As adults we adopted the same approach and it took a couple more weeks before she spoke to us. We never prompted her to speak and the questions or comments we made had a real purpose, they weren't attempts to get her to say something.

Can I ask if the family, without even realising it, are prompting and pushing. Children can be resistant or she may have sussed out that it's a good way to get extra adult attention!

SueDonim Thu 07-Dec-17 16:06:27

I've known two now-adults who were selective mutes as children. Both have since been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders. One has been able to manage her symptoms, gone to university and hold down a job but the other is severely disabled.

I don't want to be overly gloomy but I think I'd be investigating the issue. The parents will either be reassured by learning that nothing is amiss or if there is a problem, then it's being tackled early.

Alima Thu 07-Dec-17 16:07:43

DD2 was becoming concerned as her son wouldn’t speak to people he didn’t know well. He was fine with us, the adults at nursery and the teachers at school but not a word to anyone else. ( Became a bit embarrassing when he wouldn’t say please or thank you when out and about.). He is now 5 and three quarters and chats away to most people. The other week he had his first full-blown conversation with his auntie who he sees every couple of months and we were all quietly delighted. He comes from a line of fairly reserved people so it isn’t surprising really. I am sure it won’t be long before your DGD is chatting away with people she feels confident with.

Baggs Thu 07-Dec-17 16:32:56

It doesn't sound to me as if the child has a talking problem at all. She might be shy though. No, you should not worry on the basis of what you've said in the OP. People do not have to be all the same.

Granny23 Thu 07-Dec-17 16:45:41

Hard to believe now but I was excruciatingly shy as a small child. I would do anything to get out of taking a message to a neighbour or going to the wee shop along the road and having to ask for something but was OK if I had a written message or list to hand over. Slowly grew out of it as I got older. Talking in public became less of an ordeal and now I never stop.

Baggs Thu 07-Dec-17 17:00:33

G23, grin

I'm thinking that it might be that the adults around the child have an expectations problem.

nightowl Thu 07-Dec-17 17:01:36

As a child I was extremely shy and a selective mute in certain situations. It didn’t help that I had an extremely confident and gregarious mother who tried to persuade, cajole, encourage me to speak to people in all sorts of situations. I remember the feeling, the more she pushed, of being simply unable to get any words out of my mouth. I think she often interpreted it as me ‘being awkward’ but it was the most horrible feeling and completely beyond my control. I gradually grew out of it but I never lost my shyness until much later. It reared its horrible head again on one occasion in secondary school when a teacher asked me to read something - for some reason I had the same helpless feeling and the more I tried the more I felt unable to form any words. The rest of the class thought I was being deliberately insolent, and actually saw me as some kind of perverse hero (it was a very strict school). To this day my toes curl with embarrassment when I remember that incident. .

Please be kind and gentle with your DGD. This is not within her control, she is not doing it deliberately to wind anyone up, and she is probably very unhappy about it. If all else seems well I’m sure she will grow out of it in her own time, but this will happen more easily if the adults around her do not put pressure on her and do not draw attention to it.. I feel for her.

Fennel Thu 07-Dec-17 17:49:46

I agree with all the advice above. Some young children who don't speak in school have a very cautious nature, not necessarily scared. They just need to weigh up what everyone else is saying or doing.
In time they will give their opinion.

hildajenniJ Thu 07-Dec-17 19:41:09

Ooh, this takes me back! I remember how crippling shyness is. I wouldn't talk to adults or older children if I didn't have to. I would answer questions if they were directed at me, but I wouldn't put my hand up in class, even if I knew the answer. I was okay with parents and grandparents, but other adults, no. As I advanced, I developed coping strategies, and managed in secondary school. It wasn't until I was in the workplace that I lost my shyness.

eazybee Fri 08-Dec-17 09:51:06

Your granddaughter doesn't appear to have a speech and language problem . If she persists in refusing to speak to adults in an environment where she seems happy and flourishing, the school will undoubtedly flag it up, and her parents should certainly raise it at the next parents' meeting.
If it is a problem that occurs more outside the home, it sounds like a control issue: hers.

grandtanteJE65 Fri 08-Dec-17 13:37:32

Frankly, these days, I would worry more if a child that age chatted happily to strange grown-ups, than is being selective about who she speaks to.

I don't think you need to worry. She is obviously answering her teacher, when asked direct questions and is talkative with her class-mates, so I think this will sort itself out as long as no one makes an issue out of it.

Jalima1108 Fri 08-Dec-17 18:15:54

The trouble with some adults is that they ask all the wrong questions.

Does she chat at home or is she silent there?

f77ms Fri 08-Dec-17 22:54:41

I wouldn`t be too worried and not in a rush to get a ASD diagnosis !! I was cripplingly shy as a child and felt `struck dumb` at times , the more that people spoke to me the more difficult it was to answer . I wonder if I would have been diagnosed as on the autistic spectrum if I hadn`t had a sensible Mother . I am still fairly shy now and better one to one than in a group .

Harris27 Sat 09-Dec-17 10:01:19

Don't worry I have similar child in my class and won't speak to me but never shuts up when parents arrive . Seen it all before its selective and she will come around.

Mumsyface Sat 09-Dec-17 10:13:43

My two nieces were exceptionally quiet up until late teen. Then, overnight they suddenly became sociable, talkative and friendly. Their mother (my sister) never noticed, possibly because they weren’t quiet with her. I have no idea why, but all perfectly normal now.

trisher Sat 09-Dec-17 10:37:57

patriciaann71 NHS have some very good advice about selective mutism. I too have taught a child who was an elective mute and who never spoke to anyone for most of her first school years. She did go on to successfully manage her condition and succeeded at school. I wonder if your GD would benefit from some calming, stress releasing excersises?

Jan51 Sat 09-Dec-17 10:56:42

I had friends with a daughter just like this. I used to babysit and often took the children out but the younger one would not speak although she was fine at home and with other children and her sister. In fact if I was looking after them she would pass messages through her sister if she wanted something. She changed completely when she started secondary school and the teachers could not believe she was the same child that the reports from Primary school were about

Missfoodlove Sat 09-Dec-17 11:26:43

My son was so reluctant to speak to school staff his headmaster commented on his report that after 5 terms he should start speaking to staff! He only spoke when necessary but was always polite.
He chatted happily with his siblings and myself but not with his father.
This caused a lot of arguments.
He is now a well rounded 23 year old who has done months of voluntary work overseas in difficult conditions, he studied at a Czech university for 3 years and has a successful career in Prague.
He and his father have a very close relationship.

Musicelf Sat 09-Dec-17 12:12:39

I remember my daughter, while out shopping, was spoken to by someone demonstrating something (I forget what) and DD turned to me and asked: "Can I speak to this one?" My advice about not talking to strangers had obviously struck home!

This particular little GD of Patriciaann71 seems to be shy of adults - very common. She will talk to the teachers as they are in a category she feels safe with. Time will probably encourage confidence. We're all different. I was very outgoing and chatty, whereas my brother was the silent type.