Last month, around the 29th, I read an article on Yahoo about a woman who has a son with selective mutisim. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the disease, selective mutisim is an anxiety disorder in which the person is able to speak freely and comfortably in some settings with some people, but struck utterly mute in others. It’s usually diagnosed during the preschool years in which children face performance pressures.
As far as the article goes, I agree with most of the comments. The ARTICLE ITSELF is complete hooey. You can judge for yourself here: http://shine.yahoo.com/channel/parenting/how-quiet-is-too-quiet-when-shyness-is-actually-a-disorder-2504102/(Show me a kid that young that uses metaphors like that and I’ll give you a Klondike Bar.) But as for selective mutism itself, well, MAYBE they are onto something.
We’ve all heard stories about people such as rape victims and those who have suffered traumatic events fall silent for extended periods of time. (For those of you readers that like books, read Speak. It’s a prime example.) In most cases this is the result of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which stems from anxiety caused by the trauma. So it makes sense that anxiety can make you unable to speak, even if you want to.
HOWEVER, some people are just naturally quiet. They don’t like to talk. I’m one of these people. I’m very shy around new people, so I don’t speak until I feel comfortable. Aside from that I just don’t really enjoy talking. I do it because it’s needed to communicate in a quick fashion. Despite this, I don’t believe I have selective mutism. I just would rather sit back and take in the scenery than talk. Nothing more, nothing less.
So if you, your child or someone you care about is really quiet, please don’t panic. Don’t jump to conclusions. Ask them if they are dealing with anxiety in social situations. Ask if they want to speak but are unable to. If he or she is old enough, just flat out tell them about the disorder and let them feel out if they have it or not. If they do have selective , they can do something about it.
But as one user on yahoo said, not every behavior is a disorder. If it were, we’d all be classified as sick and disorderly.