selective mutism: a f2fb meeting number 6

on friday, i leave to visit the princess of champaign and the princess of bloomington.  i have a trip planned for tallahassee and another for new york before i get to st. petersburg on the tenth of march.  but first. . .

i sat at mirani’s with an idea that i knew who i was meeting:  chris castino.  i was positive that my older  son joseph went to middle school with her son, that she was mutual friends with tiffanie sarineen and that she had dark hair.  the restaurant was closed but the owners kaven and madelaine didn’t mind me staying and christopher the waiter had brought me a stella while i waited.  then a woman entered the restaurant, pulled back the hood from her face, and . . . i had no idea who she was.  she was definitely chris castino, it’s just i hadn’t seen her in so long that i had gotten her confused with someone else.  although i had read and responded with sympathy to the facebook posts that her family suffered two deaths over the christmas holiday season.

it was a bit of an awkward lunch until i realized that one of her daughters had been friends with joseph.  ah, now i know where i know her from. . . but while i might know a little about her daughter i knew nothing about chris.  i asked her what she was doing these days.  her face glowed and she said “selective  mutism”.  uh, okay, but what the heck is that?

her daughter had a friend in kindergarten at Northfield’s Middlefork School.  The girl did not speak at school, instead only talking at home. . . .and with chris–in soft whispers up against chris’ ear–whenever the two girls had playdates.  the girls drifted apart as they were assigned to different classrooms in first, second and third grade. but when they were in fourth grade, chris discovered that the girl still was not speaking.  her heart went out to her and, with the blessings of the parents and of the northfield school superintendent, chris went to lunch every day at the school and became a verbal  intermediary, eating at the lunch table with the fourth grade girls.  but let chris tell you about it. . .

sometimes chris neglected her own daughters when she was devoting more and more time to being this girl’s verbal intermediary and advocate.  but the castino daughters were very very supportive and today the girl doesn’t need chris as a verbal intermediary but she still needs the love and friendship of this great mom.  i left lunch realizing that i have some facebook friends out there who are doing great things–and i have to do a better job of keeping up with them so i can recognize them when i see them!

if you’d like to learn more about the subject, go to smartcenter@selectivemutismcenter.org


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