SM, constipation and animal therapy

A common difficulty for children suffering from selective mutism, and also many other anxious children, is constipation. This story opened my eyes to how bad it can be, and it also reminded me of the incredible healing power of animals. Animals often seem to possess a magical quality that helps to melt away tension and anxiety, and in the story below it was a border collie who transformed the life of Abby Wilson’s son. Written by Abby Wilson … 

Border-collieIt is common for children with selective mutism to also have constipation. My son has had SM since he was at least 2.5 years old, when he started kindy. I knew he was shy and didn’t like talking to the teachers but neither did I. I was slightly concerned and also mildly amused when I talked to the head teacher one day and told her that my son had missed her the previous day (when she was away sick) and hoped that she was feeling better. She looked surprised and said “He said that to you? I didn’t think he could talk at all.” I said yes of course he can talk, he has a very good vocabulary and an excellent imagination. After that I realized that he didn’t talk much outside of the house or very familiar places, only to my parents but not to my husband’s parents. I did some research and found out about SM, it was obvious to us that this is what he had.

From 2.5 years onwards he also had very bad constipation, he was very good at weeing in the toilet but nothing could make him do No.2s. He had to go on laxatives, have enemas and x-rays. One x-ray showed the poo backing all the way back to his stomach! At night he was still wearing a nappy as he was not toilet trained over-night and often did skid marks Sometimes, when we put the nappy on he would sneak off and hide and cry and push it out, in agony. Often, he would push so hard that he would vomit and shake. It was awful. We tried everything from sticker charts, food rewards, toy rewards, shouting, punishment, poo songs, letting him sit on the toilet with his nappy on and trying to go… but none of it worked. All that happened was that it became a massive point of stress and anxiety for both of us even when we were trying to be calm and sing songs and use timers.

By the time he was five and had started school, he was too scared to go to the toilet at all, he would hold it in all day and drink nothing so he didn’t have to go. Even though he tried to hold the poo in, small amounts were escaping onto his undies while he was at school, meaning he was extremely smelly during the day.

One day I was at the end of my tether, we were looking after my parents’ dog (a large, slightly fat border collie) I decided to try locking the dog in the toilet with my son. They have a very close bond, she always runs straight to his bedroom when she comes round to our house and he talks to her! To my great surprise and elation, he sat on the toilet happily talking to her and eventually did a poo. Luckily we were looking after the dog for few weeks so we were able to get into a routine of him sitting happily on toilet every day with the dog and it must have cleared the backlog! Since this time (1 year ago) amazingly he has been able to go fairly regularly and has stopped doing the skid marks and stopped stinking during the day at school. If we feel like a log jam is starting to form, then we borrow the dog and get things back on track again. This may work for you if you have a friendly dog you can dog sit.

Kathryn HarperSM, constipation and animal therapy
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Animal therapy and selective mutism

12962548_10154065891656944_1398684884_oAnimals are amazing. Their unassuming, accepting nature makes it easy for children to relax and to be themselves around them, and so there are many occasions when a family pet – or any animal contact – can make all the difference to a child suffering from anxiety.

One such story is this one, of Owen and his little dog, Ling, which was published in 2015 as part of Rachel Hale McKenna’s photobook, Little Loves. This book captures ‘New Zealand children and their favourite animals’ and is available to purchase from this link. Photographs provided by Owen’s Mum, Maree Turner.


Kathryn HarperAnimal therapy and selective mutism
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How essential oils helped my son’s selective mutism

There are many different methods and therapies that may be beneficial to people suffering from selective mutism. At VOICE we do not believe in a ‘one size fits all’ approach, but we do believe that a combination of techniques and lifestyle changes may bring about noticeable improvements. This was certainly the case for the son of Roberta Martinez Negrete when a combination of essential oils and positive affirmations was introduced into his life. Roberta shares Diego’s story below …

My son, Diego, is five years old. He started showing anxiety symptoms when he was two. He was never talkative, but at the age of three he stopped talking to adults. He could only speak to his grandparents, my husband and me.
About a year ago I was introduced to essential oils. A month later, I had a bad experience at work so I was feeling very stressed and angry. A friend happened to be around with her oils and she asked me to try some of her oil blends. I was surprised how quickly they worked, and how amazing I was feeling after just a couple of minutes. The anxiety and anger were gone! That’s when it hit me. Diego, my son, needed the oils!! I always refused the idea of getting Diego medicated, so it made perfect sense to me.
We started using two particular oil blends every time Diego was frustrated, upset or showed any signs of anxiety – and they worked great most of the time. Two months ago I started applying them on Diego every morning before I took him to school. I also made him repeat positive statements every morning (I am smart, I am brave, I am fearless, I am strong).
I asked him if he needed help. He said YES! I explained him that we were a team, including teachers and therapists and that he was going to be able to talk very soon. He looked relieved. 
Diego’s teachers have been telling me that he seems to be more relaxed. He is talking more and more to the kids in his class and he even started making sounds to the teachers (letter sounds, animal sounds, etc). 
Last week he had an amazing breakthrough! Diego started talking! Not just a few words, he was actually communicating with two of them! He even asked his speech therapist if she was okay after she was hit by accident by another student. The following days, he kept saying a few words to other adults. We are thrilled for his achievements!! 
I can’t say that the oils did all the work, but I strongly recommend you to try them! Diego still has a long way to go but now I am confident we are on the right path! Selective Mutism is tough! The feeling of not being able to help my son and knowing that he actually wants to speak has been the toughest part for me. 
I wish for you all that your kids overcome SM soon!!!

I strongly recommend you consider using doTERRA Essential Oils. It’s the only company with certified pure therapeutic grade oils – 100% natural, potent and pure. The blends we use to reduce the feelings of anxiety and stress are Serenity (Calming Blend) and Balance (Grounding Blend). 
We applied these oils on the spine of my son (and mine!) neck, wrists and heart area at least 2 or 3 times a day. We reapply them when we are going through a bad moment or before any situation that would cause anxiety or stress. I dilute them with fractionated coconut oil. 
We also use a diffuser at home, I totally recommend it. Aromatherapy is a great tool for emotional support. The oils have a direct effect on our brains and how we deal with emotions. 
I am now a doTERRA Wellness Advocate. I have been taking seminars, studying and even teaching for a while now. I truly believe that essential oils can make a huge difference in our families – not just emotionally, but physically as well. We replaced medications and even cleaning supplies with the oils. Reducing toxins in our homes can definitely help our kids. 
If you would like to try the oils or learn more about them, please contact me or visit my website. I’d love to help! I can teach you how to save some money while investing in your families’ health. My goal is to share what I learned with you so you can help your family too!
Since writing this story Diego has made further progress, speaking now to all his teachers and other adults he knows. If you are interested in purchasing oils, Roberta recommends that you click on the “Join and Save” link on her website, so you can sign up for wholesale pricing. Here’s the link again for the website,
Kathryn HarperHow essential oils helped my son’s selective mutism
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