Selective Mutism is a severe anxiety disorder in which a child is unable to speak in social situations and settings. A child with Selective Mutism usually talks normal at home, but is unable to get their words out once outside the comfort of their home. The Child responds to severe social anxiety as if their words are locked up tight in a box with no key in sight! Often confused with being overly shy or stubborn these children live their life in silence. It's painful, they wish so badly they could speak...but to no avail. Not even a whisper.
I have put together a list of the top ten Selective Mutism Signs, Symptoms, and facts.
- The child seems to be excessively shy.
- The child experiences social isolation and withdrawal
- Not speaking lasts for longer than one month, besides the first month of school.
- The child's lack of speaking is interfering with their school progress.
- consistent failure to speak in any social situation.
- lack of eye contact.
- The child often displays stiff body language with shoulders curled in and head down.
- The child's inability to speak is not from lack of knowledge or speech problem.
- Their inability to speak is not brought on by a tragic event, but rather the child's anxiety of social situations.
- Because Selective Mutism overlaps with social anxiety disorder, it is believed it may be genetic and the child may have other family members who suffer from anxiety.
There are a lot of teachers, Pediatricians, and professionals who have not heard of Selective Mutism. Awareness is key to the success of these children! There are some treatment plans in place for Selective Mutism, and is best if caught early.
Please spread the word! Get these Children their voices back!
Have a beautiful day :)