In The Spotlight: Selective Mutism Awareness

As we continue through Disability Pride Month, I wanted to shine the spotlight on more disabled creators and bloggers, this week we have Aymie who runs a website dedicated to Selective Mutism, let’s hear from Amyie.

A young child covering their mouth as though not wanting to talk

I first started my blog because my mom encouraged me to. This is also when I started blogging about Selective Mutism. SM is a severe anxiety disorder in which a person is unable to speak in certain social situations. A person with Selective Mutism does not refuse to speak to others or choose not to speak at certain times. They are physically unable to speak in certain situations because of an extreme anxiety around talking.

When I was four years old, I started preschool, and this is when I first started to experience Selective Mutism. At preschool I didn’t speak to anyone except for my sister and our two friends. My teachers informed my parents that I wasn’t speaking to anyone else. This puzzled my parents because at home with my family I was a chatterbox. I was still the same little girl that I had always been at home, but at preschool I was a completely different child. My teachers thought that I was just shy, but it was more than just normal shyness for me. It took my parents some years before they found out that I had SM.

My SM has ebbed and flowed throughout the years. There have been moments when it has been easier, and there has been times when it has been much harder. Over the years many of my teachers have misunderstood me and misinterpreted the situation. The awareness around SM wasn’t there during my childhood years in school and this made it harder to receive support within the school. I found school quite difficult due to my struggle with SM. I think that things could have been different for me as a child if the awareness and support had been there. 

Some people consider Selective Mutism to be a rare disorder, but it is actually not that rare. 1 of 140 children are affected by SM. But unfortunately, Selective Mutism is not a well-known disorder. Many people have either never come across it or never heard about it before. Therefore, it is also so misunderstood. I have personally found that this is one of the hardest things about having SM. But this is also why I have become passionate about raising awareness.

An outline of a human brain with the words selective mutism is the body's freeze response to an extreme anxiety. Wordless Warriors.

If teachers, parents, and even certain professionals can become more aware about what SM is and what it isn’t then hopefully things can change for future children who might struggle. Knowing how to interact with a child, teen or adult is so important.

Growing up with Selective Mutism has been difficult, but it has all led me to starting a blog and a website to raise awareness for SM. Since I started my blog, I have begun to research more about SM, and this has helped me to understand and accept myself.

This has also helped my family and friends to understand SM and my experiences and struggles. As a child I had no idea that there were so many others with the same struggle as me. I thought that I was the only one who struggled to speak in school and in other social situations. Since I started my blogging journey, I have connected with others in the SM community. This has shown me that I am not alone, and it has also been very freeing for me. When I first started blogging, I never quite imagined how it would personally help me, or how life changing it would be for me.

 Find out more about Selective Mutism.

Are you disabled and would like to share you story? Get in touch!

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