This is the girl who didn’t speak a word on school grounds for the first two years, and then only whispered for the next two, despite having an extensive vocabulary at home.
This is the girl who learnt to read despite not talking, and was an independent reader aged six.
This is the girl who was given maths worksheets to do while the rest of the class was being taught.
This is the girl who was taken out of mainstream school two mornings a week for remedial work because she didn’t talk.
This is the girl who couldn’t ask to go to the toilet, so came home in the spare school pants several days a week.
This is the girl who would squirm and push and flap when cornered by adults, and she was cornered a lot while they tried to force her to speak.
This is the girl who bit a hole in her teacher’s cardigan. She didn’t understand why they wouldn’t stop questioning her when she didn’t speak or why they held her down when she tried to get away.
This is the girl who would hide under tables.
This is the girl who screamed and covered her ears when they played a tape of her speaking in front of the whole class.
This is the girl who whispered the answers to the questions at school in other children’s ears because she wouldn’t speak aloud, and they got the credit.
This is the girl who screamed on her first playdate because she accidentally spoke, and the other child’s parents thought she’d been hurt. She was never asked on playdates again.
This is the girl who stood on the exact same spot on the playground every single playtime, in the exact same position, alone.
Selective Mutism. Hyperlexia. Stimming. Asperger’s.
These are the words that didn’t exist in an Oxfordshire primary school in the early 1980′s.