Selective Mutism is a Social Anxiety Disorder usually found in children. It is characterized by an inability to speak in certain situations. Many children with SM only find the school setting to be difficult. Others may be more affected. Jamie rarely spoke to anyone but her mother. Children with SM often say they feel frozen. They have trouble making eye contact and may shut down completely.
Selective Mutism and Autism
New research shows that Selective Mutism and other Anxiety Disorders have a strong genetic link. The environment often exasperates the situation and trauma can be a component. It is believed that some children with Selective Mutism are misdiagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and some children with Autism Spectrum Disorder also have Selective Mutism.
What Can Be Done?
While there is no cure for Selective Mutism, children usually begin to speak when they are in a supportive, nurturing environment. Involvement in an activity they enjoy can distract a child from their feelings of anxiety and improve their chances of speaking. With treatment, these children can become successful adults but often still have Anxiety Disorders. Jamie is still very socially anxious in certain situations. Those who know her through dance will be surprised to learn this. More research is needed to help those who suffer from crippling anxiety. A portion of this book’s royalties will be donated to the Selective Mutism Foundation.