My 4 year old Isaac's story

by Cassandra Schwersenska
(Illinois)

I have a four year old son Isaac. We started noticing Isaac would get very quiet or irritable at family gatherings or birthday parties. Last fall after his sister's birthday party he did not speak to anyone for a whole day, started back up and then a couple days later was mute for a whole week. We thought Isaac may have had Selective Mutism.


After we saw a specialist who deals with SM she evaluated Isaac and we were told he did not score high enough to have SM but he scored low enough to have some form of mutism and he suffered from a sensory disorder.

Isaac has never been very fond of meat unless it marinates so juicy that it just melts in his mouth, sounds delicious right? He will literally chew on meat and suck the flavor out and then fuss that he doesn't like to eat it, now I realize what was going on. Isaac refuses to wear shorts. This has been a huge battle, we live in Northern Illinois and it is hot! He will pull on his shorts to see if he can get them to stretch down to his ankles. He fusses and screams and cries and there have been times where I have sent him to daycare in them on 100 plus degree days and he will shut down and not talk and just latch on and cry to either his father or I, but I have taken him back home and put him in pants and his whole attitude will change.

He hates school, he says the kids are too noisy and he doesn't like being in the nap room because there are no windows or light. He had many accidents because he was scared to walk down the hall to the bathroom that he would have to enter that was dark from a lit hallway. Isaac does not notice when his face is messy or sticky but if he has anything on his hands he immediately notices and is asking for a towel to wash them. He is very meticulous about his finger and toenails being groomed almost every 2-3 days. His teacher had bought up at a parent teacher conference one time that he makes noises and sounds when playing by himself that are distracting and then the other kids catch on and the whole room is soon making these sounds. I believe he does it to tune out the other noises in the room?

At home Isaac will not walk into the bathroom unless the light in the hallway is on as well as the bathroom light, once there is light he is fine, he refuses to go in his room as it is a darker room so we have opened it up more but someone always has to walk him into a new environment when the lighting is different. He loves music, he loves to dance and sing. We have even been able to give him his own mp3 device and headphones that actually calm him down when he gets very temperamental. He is demanding and at times hard to control. He can be very affectionate towards people when they are hurt but if he bumps into walls or couches he feels the need "to get back" and gets very upset. This has been a hard road.

I have been looking into OT's but I am still paying off the SM dr and we are not a wealthy family. I have to pay 750 out of pocket and to have him evaluated is almost 400 and then my insurance will have me paying 60 for each session there after which is not bad unless this is something he will be needing weekly.

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Aug 07, 2012
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Isaac's mom
by: Anonymous

No Isaac did not have any vaccinations prior to this happening. We have noticed the sensory stuff almost his whole life. When he was an infant we had a big family get together and he was crying the whole time. I handed him off to all the relatives so i could get my sanity back, took him for a walk in the stroller and finally he was ok-away from the noise. Once we got back to the house he was crying again. I thought he had colic and now I look back and realize it was the start of things.

Aug 07, 2012
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My Ishaq is similar
by: Janice

Thank you for your post. I am finding many similarities between your son and mine - even the name is the same (Ishaq is the Arabic spelling). I am definitely going to try a MP3 player. I was able to get the OT paid for through my medical insurance (not my behavior/mental health insurance) so please try to check in on that option. Unfortunately they only approved 20 visits (as if it were PT or chiropractic). I found that with OT my son (now 8 - only diagnosed since November of last year) has improved up to 75%. He is less sensitive about pants - but I have a feeling he will hate pants now that he got used to shorts. In kindergarten he would only wear shorts, so we would have him wear pants then take them off and put them in his cubby until recess. He felt in control with that.

As far as making sounds, you have really helped me understand why he hooted in class last year. He also went through a very high pitch hum. Finally the teacher had him sit in the hall for one minute to stop the noise, and he liked the break from the noise and did stop. Once he had OT in school a few days a week and the diagnosis was understood the school began to realize his talents and understand that his disrespectful tone at times was due to over stimulation.
You are completely on the right track, and I think you will find much of the OT can be done at home and perhaps you can build or buy the equipment so that you won't have to attend OT more than a year or less. Good luck with all of your research and trial and error. As soon as he can communicate and use words to advocate for himself (I need to go home, it is too loud in this store - this food makes me feel bad - I need a break so may I walk to the drinking fountain and back) he will on his way to success as well.

All the best. Keep us posted on his progress!

Aug 07, 2012
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Question about Isaac
by: Anonymous

Did you notice if any of this happened right after you son was vaccintated? Some children, including mine have problems due to the mercury and other chemicals in the vaccines.

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