A Case of Selective Mutism

Ben’s* parents brought him to see me aged 3 years and 4 months old.

They were concerned with the number of times Ben had been ill since birth. He was very prone to coughs that lasted up to a month, colds, high temperatures, ear infections and chest infections. He had been given antibiotics numerous times since birth, and 4 times in the last 10 months. There was a possible diagnosis of asthma and both parents did not want to go down the steroid path for him.

Ben’s mother described him as very shy, not confident, but better at home. The pregnancy was fine but the labour was ‘back to back’. He had a little jaundice at birth, was bottle fed and had received all his vaccinations on time to the UK NHS schedule. He had met his milestones on time.

I prescribed him Silica as he showed the characteristics of that remedy: chesty coughs, timid and bashful, possible effects from vaccination, exhaustion, ear infections, parotid glands swollen, swollen tonsils, shortness of breaths, asthma.

Ben responded well to the remedy for the first 2 weeks after the consultation. He was described as jolly, confident and happier; he’d become lively and engaging with his parents and started to speak in short 3-word sentences rather than single words. He also had no colds or coughs between consultations. All in all, a noticeable improvement up to that point.

Three weeks after the first consultation, he was given his vaccinations – 4 in 1 booster for Diptheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Polio and the second MMR vaccine for Measles, Mumps and Rubella. He also received the flu vaccine as a nasal spray.

After that, things deteriorated. At nursery he was shutting down and barely interacting. Eye contact reduced and he needed to be prompted to answer questions. His mum described him as clinging to her and physically hiding from people. Ben was consequently diagnosed with mild to moderate Selective Mutism and assigned a speech therapist. I prescribed Silica at a stronger potency: ‘Ben is a different person. We gave Silica yesterday by Saturday he was chirpy, lively and chatty.’

The following month he was given the Meningitis C vaccine, and the selective mutism symptoms arose again.

Selective mutism is defined as:

- Marked deficits in communication and social interaction
- Language impairment
- Poor verbal expression, uses gesture to point out for his needs
- Prefers solitude
- No eye contact while communication
- Not responsive to verbal instructions with normal hearing
- Selective as in contact with close members of the family may be ‘normal’

I prescribed the homeopathic Meningitis C and Silica:

‘Hi Rachel. Happy New Year! Just updating you about Ben, I gave him his last dose on Sunday and since the last time we saw you, he has been in good health (fingers crossed) and the first time in 3 years we had a healthy Ben for xmas! He has also been very talkative by himself when he is playing (pretend play) and with other people (relatives who visited over xmas and new year)’

Ben’s health continues to improve.

Not every child is susceptible to vaccinations, but for some it is just too much for their immune system to take at an early age and can affect development, especially if there has been a lot of medication, such as anti-biotics.
If you see any adverse reactions at all, even if it is weeks later, do not delay, see a homeopath. Whatever the reason for developmental delays, be it vaccination or something else, the earlier it is addressed the better.

* Name changed for privacy purposes