Imagine living in a world where you’re afraid to use your voice around others. You’re paralyzed by fear and cannot even make eye contact. Welcome to the daily nightmare of SELECTIVE MUTISM.
Did you know that only 1 in 5 adults in the US have ever heard of Selective Mutism? That’s less than 15% of the population. Now imagine one of these people has a young toddler who is “shy”. What will they do? Most likely, absolutely nothing. I mean, it’s common for kids to be shy, right?
Fast forward to elementary school age, entering kindergarten. The child is still severely shy and not speaking to anyone outside of the immediate family. The parent now begins to realize it might be more than acceptable shyness, but they don’t know what to do. They’ve overlooked the symptoms until they are forced to admit there is a problem. The child has been struggling in silence for a couple of years already and developed unhealthy patterns for coping with the fear.
Early intervention offers the best chance for the fastest recovery. Once the child learns set patterns for avoiding the fearful social situations, it is more difficult to break that cycle. So, the best thing we can do is teach the public about Selective Mutism. Had that parent been aware of the disorder early on, they might have detected an issue much earlier and intervened with a recovery plan. Awareness is the key to winning against Selective Mutism.
I was that parent who had never heard of the anxiety disorder. I made the excuses for my son who cowered behind my legs, hid his face from the world, paralyzed in fear, and was unable to use his voice with others. I cannot go back in time and tell my younger self about this anxiety disorder. I cannot make my younger self seek information on Selective Mutism so my child would be more equipped to overcome the disorder sooner. I cannot change the past. My son struggled. He took the long road through SM all because I didn’t recognize the problem soon enough. I don’t want that to happen to others.
I am now the voice of Selective Mutism. Join me in this quest to educate the world about this disorder. Share this post on social media and help break the silence of SELECTIVE MUTISM.