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August 3, 2012 at 2:46 PMComments: 1 Faves: 0

Cat Helps Mute Boy Speak!

By Bri Luginbill More Blogs by This Author

Lorcan Dillon, a seven-year old boy from Davyhulme, England is just like any other kid that loves to play and explore, but tragically, he has one very serious problem. Lorcan suffers from extreme anxiety, so extreme in fact, that he’s unable to communicate or express his emotions verbally. It's called "selective mutism." 

Selective mutism (Formally called "elective mutsim") is a disorder commonly confused with autism. Unlike autism however, children are not born with the condition, but rather develop it and are diagnosed at an average of between 3 and 8.

While no exact cause of this condition has been pin-pointed, a family history of anxiety, speech problems, ADHD, OCD, adoption, and traumatic experience are all more likely in these children than in most. Today, experts estimate that, like Lorcan, approximately 1 in 1000 children are living with this problem. Thankfully though, with medication and behavioral therapy there is real hope for improvement in these children. In particular Lorcan's mother, Jayne, had heard about was the benefits of animal assisted therapy and impressed, decided to bring home a beautiful Birman they would later call "Jessi-cat."

Lorcan Dillon and Jessi-cat selective mutism therapyIt was a decision that turned out to be very good.

When Lorcan first laid eyes on Jessi-cat, he formed an instant bond with her. The two became inseparable. Everywhere Lorcan went, Jessi followed and vice versa. Two years into their friendship, Lorcan spoke his very first words “I love you.”

"It is a way for Lorcan to communicate. He does speak normally at home - he does not have selective mutism with us at all in the house, but he does not express his emotions. He would not say 'I love you mummy.' He just does not do it...But with the cat, he can cuddle her, he can stroke her, he can talk to her and he does say, 'I love you Jessi-Cat,' which is really nice...it is a way for him to express emotions which otherwise he would not be able to do."

Jayne cannot begin to express how much of a difference Jessi-cat has made in Lorcan’s life,”In the past two weeks he’s started communicating with people he doesn’t know very well and even reads to one of the teachers now - something he’s never done before.”

The bond between the two is so strong, that Lorcan is beginning to express his feelings. He is even show signs of affection-something he dislikes doing.

”The bond between Lorcan and Jessi-Cat is so touching as he’s able to show physical affection to her which he doesn’t like doing with people - even me. She’s such a delightful, responsive cat and he hugs and kisses her all the time.”

For the good she has done, Jessi-cat was even nominated as a "Best Friends finalist" in CATs Protection's National Cat Awards! Check out the video below:

Sources:

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4436602/Cat-got-your-tongue-going.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selective_mutism

http://www.cats.org.uk/get-involved/cat-awards-2012/national-cat-awards-best-friends

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1 Comment

  • I really believe animals help others to feel better and live a longer life.

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