Before the treatment it was really hard to communicate with people and to feel accepted into groups. When my teachers asked me to talk I just stared at everyone. Everyone stared at me waiting for me to speak. After a minute or so the teacher skipped me and went on. Sometimes I felt so embarrassed that I wanted to cry, but I didnt. I did get butterflies in my stomach a lot, and sometimes I felt nauseous. Time passed and I just felt frustrated. I would be talking with my close friend and another student that I didnt talk to would show up and wanted to chat. I couldnt keep a conversation because I wouldnt talk. Sometimes the friend I talked to went away with the friend I didnt talk to, and that made me feel sad. When kids asked me why dont you talk? my friends had to say she doesnt talk because she is shy and it was hard to hear that every single day. I wasnt shy! I just couldnt use my voice!
In restaurants it wasnt too hard, just a little bit. My parents or my grandparents had to order my food. When I was with my aunt and uncle or my cousins thats when it got hard because my brother had to order for me and hes just a year older than me.
What helped me the most with the treatment was the support I got from my family (extended family and friends included). My family was always supporting me every time I improved they would tell me good job or awesome. I got star stickers on a chart every time I did a goal that helped me improve. That helped a lot. I got very happy when everyone got excited because I was one step closer to talking.
Talking in school is the thing I feel most proud about. Since I started a new school for 7th grade I talk to everybody and its a great feeling. Nobody knows. Only 2 or 3 of my elementary school teachers that are also at this new school and the director (that was also in the other school) and the principal. But its ok because they never bring it up. Some of my friends from the other school moved to the new school with me but they dont care. I just talk to them and they never ask. Talking in school is awesome.
Now I can do a lot of things that I couldnt do in the past. For example, in school no one knows. Not even one of my best friends, so Im just a normal student. In restaurants its so much easier I can order. Im fine and Im not scared anymore. I used to not talk to my aunts, uncles, and my cousins, but now they never mention it. I have a lot of fun hanging out with them. I am really proud of myself.
I would tell kids that conquering this fear can change your whole life. You finally say to yourself I feel normal. You could just feel the best that youve ever felt in your life. Its an awesome feeling.
Progress is as unique as every child is, so patience, and taking every single step as a major accomplishment, no matter how small, is paramount. I guess that our ability as a family to focus on the moment rather than focusing on the big picture (her finding her voice) was crucial too. We are blessed also to have an extended family and a group of close friends that were always presence, help, and a shoulder to cry on and would do anything for our daughter...
As a family, we chose to all be on board for her, even our 13 year old boy. The road can become rough on occasions, but this IS POSSIBLE. The most important basic thing is not giving up, ever. My daughter thinks the world is a very cool place to be right now.