Selective mutism is characterized as a severe anxiety disorder wherein an individual that is normally capable of speech is unable to talk in specific situations or to certain individuals. Also called situational mutism, the disorder commonly co-exists with a social anxiety disorder and begins during childhood. When left untreated, the disorder can persist into adulthood.
However, awareness of selective mutism is quite low with only about 15% of adults in the U.S. having heard of the disorder. As a non-profit organization in Tamarac, Florida focused on raising awareness and providing support to individuals with the disorder, we will share its symptoms:
- Inability to speak in specific social situations that interfere with school or work
- Appearing nervous, uneasy, or tense
- Exhibiting extreme shyness or acting socially withdrawn
Additionally, the inability to speak is not caused by a communication disorder. As a result, individuals, particularly adults with selective mutism face many challenges when it comes to communication. In line with the ongoing pandemic, it can be more difficult for adults to access the support they need to manage and overcome the disorder.
Aside from joining or reaching out to a campaign group, adults with selective mutism can receive the support they need through phone calls, text messaging, and online platforms that allow video conferencing with their loved ones. By using these platforms and other available resources, they can manage and potentially overcome the disorder.
Selective Mutism Foundation, Inc.> is an established public service organization in Florida at the forefront of selective mutism research. Browse our site to learn more about treatment and gain access to essential resources.