Early life environment and a childs temperament

Abstract Most temperament theories presume a biological basis to those behavioral tendencies thought to be temperamental in origin. Behavioral genetic methods can be used to test this assumption. Twin and adoption studies suggest that individual differences in infant and child temperament are genetically influenced.

Early life environment and a childs temperament

These children are able to speak and communicate in settings where they are comfortable, secure, and relaxed. This disorder is quite debilitating and painful to the child. Children and adolescents with Selective Mutism have an actual FEAR of speaking and of social interactions where there is an expectation to speak and communicate.

Many children with Selective Mutism have great difficulty responding or initiating communication in a nonverbal manner; therefore, social engagement may be compromised in many children when confronted by others or in an overwhelming setting where they sense a feeling of expectation.

Not all children manifest their anxiety in the same way. Some may be completely mute and unable to speak or communicate to Early life environment and a childs temperament in a social setting, others may be able to speak to a select few or perhaps whisper.

Some children may stand motionless with fear as they are confronted with specific social settings. They may freeze, be expressionless, unemotional and may be socially isolated.

When compared to the typically shy and timid child, most children with Selective Mutism are at the extreme end of the spectrum for timidity and shyness. Why does a child develop Selective Mutism? The majority of children with Selective Mutism have a genetic predisposition to anxiety.

In other words, they have inherited a tendency to be anxious from one or more family members. Very often, these children show signs of severe anxiety, such as separation anxiety, frequent tantrums and crying, moodiness, inflexibility, sleep problems, and extreme shyness from infancy on.

Children with Selective Mutism often have severely inhibited temperaments. Studies show that individuals with inhibited temperaments are more prone to anxiety than those without shy temperaments.

Most, if not all, of the distinctive behavioral characteristics that children with Selective Mutism portray can be explained by the studied hypothesis that children with inhibited temperaments have a decreased threshold of excitability in the almond-shaped area of the brain called the amygdala.

When confronted with a fearful scenario, the amygdala receives signals of potential danger from the sympathetic nervous system and begins to set off a series of reactions that will help individuals protect themselves.

In the case of children with Selective Mutism, the fearful scenarios are social settings such as birthday parties, school, family gatherings, routine errands, etc.

They may be sensitive to sounds, lights, touch, taste and smells. Some children have difficulty modulating sensory input which may affect their emotional responses.

DSI may cause a child to misinterpret environmental and social cues. This can lead to inflexibility, frustration and anxiety. Others may have subtle learning disabilities including auditory processing disorder.

In most of these cases, the children have inhibited temperaments prone to shyness and anxiety.

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These children are usually temperamentally inhibited by nature, but the additional stress of speaking another language and being insecure with their skills is enough to cause an increased anxiety level and mutism.

A small percentage of children with Selective Mutism do not seem to be the least bit shy. Many of these children perform and do whatever they can to get others attention and are described as professional mimes! Reasons for mutism in these children are not proven, but preliminary research from the SMart Center indicates that these children may have other reasons for mutism.

These children are literally stuck in the nonverbal stage of communication. Selective Mutism is therefore a symptom.

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Studies have shown no evidence that the cause of Selective Mutism is related to abuse, neglect or trauma. What is the difference between Selective Mutism and traumatic mutism? Children who suffer from Selective Mutism speak in at least one setting and are rarely mute in all settings.

Most have inhibited temperaments and manifest social anxiety. For children with Selective Mutism, their mutism is a means of avoiding the anxious feelings elicited by expectations and social encounters.

Children with traumatic mutism usually develop mutism suddenly in all situations. An example would be a child who witnesses the death of a grandparent or other traumatic event, is unable to process the event, and becomes mute in all settings.

It is important to understand that some children with Selective Mutism may start out with mutism in school and other social settings. Due to negative reinforcement of their mutism, misunderstandings from those around them, and perhaps heightened stress within their environment, they may develop mutism in all settings.

What behavior characteristics does a child with Selective Mutism portray in social settings?If the infant has a secure attachment in early life he will approach situations with more confidence in himself and his environment.

If the early attachment is poorly defined he will feel inadequate or acquire self-doubt when attempting to achieve an expected milestone in growth and development.

• The SMart Center director, Dr. Elisa Shipon-Blum (Dr. E), pioneered early, effective treatment approaches to Selective Mutism.

• Dr.

Early life environment and a childs temperament

E's Social Communication Anxiety Treatment® (S-CAT®) program is acknowledged as a gold standard for treating SM and is increasingly being used in treatment for a range of other social communication issues.

How temperament affects parents, children, and family life. evident early in life, and ; especially when there is a poor “fit” between a child’s temperament and the family environment. Temperament can also contribute to children’s patterns of adjustment over time.

Pediatrician William Carey () suggested that a child may come. Dec 19,  · But a child's temperament matters too. Some Early Childhood Experiences Shape Adult Life, But Which Ones? Some Early Childhood Experiences Shape Adult Life, But Which Ones? Clarissa "Clara" Harlowe Barton was born on December 25, in North Oxford, Mass.

She was the youngest by ten years of five children of Capt. Stephen Barton and his wife, Sarah Stone Barton.

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Behavioral Genetics and Child Temperament