Not everyone has the confidence to speak everywhere...

Selective Mutism is an anxiety disorder in which affected children speak fluently in some situations but remain silent in others. The condition is known to begin early in life and can be transitory, such as on starting school or being admitted to hospital, but in rare cases it can persist right through a child's school life.

These children usually do not talk to their teachers and may also be silent with their peers, although they do communicate non-verbally. Other combinations of non-speaking can also occur, affecting specific members of the childs family. Often the child has no other identifiable problems and converses freely at home or with close friends. He/she usually makes age-appropriate progressat school in areas where speaking is not required.

The essential feature of Selective Mutism is the persistant failure to speak in specific social situations (e.g. at school, with peers and/or the teacher), despite being able to speak in other, morefamiliar situations.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012


Two months ago I was told by a Speech and Language Therapist that my daughter has Selective Mutism (SM). Until this time I'd never heard of the condition. I'd spent 18 months thinking that my daughter was being difficult, ignorant and playing me up. At times I'd thought she was misbehaving and being extremely rude. I would shout at her and punish her for being naughty. The guilt I felt when I walked out of the clinic on that cold and wet November morning was overwhelming. My 4-year-old suffers with severe social anxiety. It's not that she won't's that she physically can't. This blog is our journey, and we'll overcome her fears together.


  1. Lindsay, my brave god-daughter - You and Alan are absolute stars dealing with your family's life in such a positive way - I am so proud of you xx

  2. Thanks Auntie(!) Helen...writing it all down is helping me understand it a bit better. Hopefully it will help others understand it too xx