An ethical non-profit, public service organization

Co-Founder & Co-Director:
Sue Newman-Mercado
Selective Mutism Foundation, Inc.
P.O. Box 25972
Tamarac, FL 33320

History of the Foundation

Both Sue Newman-Mercado and Carolyn Miller are parents of children who struggled with Selective Mutism. They learned of each other through Mrs. Miller’s search in April 1991 for other families having a selectively mute child via a printed notice in a national magazine. Due to the geographical distance between them, the Foundation was created through the telephone and mail efforts. Both women devoted untiring efforts toward the establishment of the first and only charitable, unconditional non-profit organization dedicated to providing education, support, and research in this area. Through their efforts, they accomplished a small miracle.

A newspaper article about Selective Mutism attracted TV producers and, in October 1991, the first media segment produced on Selective Mutism was presented on the Maury Povich Show. After the television show aired, hundreds of families responded, leading to the creation of a national network.

staff standingA Certificate of Incorporation was obtained in 1991 under the name, Foundation for Elective Mutism, Inc. with articles of incorporation filed in the state of West Virginia. Articles of Incorporation were amended in 1993 to reflect the DSM IV diagnostic name change, as they became known as The Selective Mutism Foundation, Inc. All was accomplished by two devoted parents, neither of whom had yet met face-to-face. Without Internet evolvement, these two women developed the organization, while raising not one, but two children struggling with Selective Mutism. They accomplished this while holding full-time jobs. They, and all of the volunteers who held positions within the Foundation, or those who volunteered their time and talents, did so without any compensation at all. All donations, every penny, was used directly to educate the public, prevent isolation, and to promote research. With the May 1996 Phil Donahue Show presentation and ABC’s 20/20 in 1999, Selective Mutism and the Foundation received volumes of phone calls and mail, as public awareness of Selective Mutism was increased. The co-founders developed the Selective Mutism Foundation, Inc., with recognition of the vital need to bring attention to this misunderstood and neglected disorder

Since 1991, the selfless, exclusive efforts of these two women affected and permanently altered the 4 most vital issues regarding Selective Mutism.

  • Awareness and recognition of the disorder through the media.
  • Prevention of isolation nationwide and abroad.
  • Critical changes in the DSM IV: renaming the disorder and revising the diagnostic criteria to better assist professionals and families.
  • Accomplishing essential legitimate published scientific research studies on Selective Mutism.

The foundation has paved the way and others have benefited from the many years of dedicated vigorous hard work of the Co-Founders.