UNDERSTANDING SELECTIVE MUTISM (S.M) ?
When children are unable to speak around certain people or in certain settings, they may have an anxiety disorder called Selective Mutism (S.M).
Parents typically start noticing signs of S.M when a child is three or four years old. The disorder might not be diagnosed until the child is school-aged, when their problems with speaking become more apparent.
S.M can cause significant impairment in a child’s life. It can interfere with kids’ performance at school, both academically and socially. It can prevent kids from asking for help if they need it. It can also prevent kids from engaging in many fun activities that require verbal communication, including play dates.
Additionally, GP’s may tell parents that the “shyness” will pass and discourage families from seeking treatment. The good news is that with the right help, kids with S.M can get better.
For more information on S.M, please visit the NHS website.
The Selective Mutism Information and Research Association (SMiRA) is a good resource for people affected by selective mutism. – http://www.selectivemutism.org.uk/