Have you ever heard of a person being a selective mute? A friend was describing the story of a girl who is now considered a selective mute. She has other special needs but none that affected her speech until recently when she decided not to talk anymore. How frustrating for her parents and educators who brought her so far, only to be disappointed by this setback. More importantly, how awful for her. Her ability to communicate has just been stonewalled.
As I shared this story with a colleague this morning, we entered a discussion about the power of voices. We shared some experiences and agreed to both write about the same topic. What will that look like? What spin will we each put on it? The same topic, the same discussion, but it’s probable that each entry will be so different.
As I reflected on voice, I thought it was amazing how we tune into different voices and know who people are just from the sound that is produced when they talk. You might not speak to someone for a year, but if you hear their voice, you would know who it was immediately.
On the flip side, what if suddenly the voice was taken, disappeared, stolen? No voice, silence, only gestures to communicate.
Well, that wouldn’t be so bad. I am always asking Emily to be quiet, even for just a little while. She is so incredibly loud, almost all the time. How nice would it be to have peace and quite? I just want to be able to think, just for a moment, without noise. But…I must be careful what I wish for. If she had no voice…
I would miss the sweet singing I often hear coming from the back seat.
I would miss the big laughs that escape her mouth for silly reasons.
I would miss the many questions she asks as she tries to figure out life.
I would miss the I love you’s that are whispered out of her mouth.
I would miss the sassiness that has a way of making an appearance so often.
I would miss the rhythm of her reading and the excitement and emotions she displays while reading.
Though I never thought I would say this, I think I would miss her crying. For that is a way of communication too.
I am sure I am not capturing everything I would miss. But what if, just what if, your child suddenly became a selective mute?