My daughter, Brianna, was diagnosed with Selective Mutism and Severe Separation Anxiety in October 2018. She had just recently turned 4 years old. We always knew there had to be something more to her shyness than "just a phase" and that "she'd grow out of it" like we were constantly being told by others. When preschool wasn't getting any easier for her, we decided to have her seen by a psychiatrist. That is when we finally found out her "shyness" was actually a serious anxiety disorder that she wasn't just going to grow out of any time soon.
So what is Selective Mutism:
-a serious anxiety disorder that causes someone who is capable of speaking from being able to do so when they feel uncomfortable/anxious.
-children with SM struggle with peer interaction, greetings/goodbyes, participating in school and group activities and even speaking to extended family members
-common characteristics of SM: blank stares when talked to, freezing, lack of eye contact, hiding behind parent, meltdowns, sensory issues and poor academic performances.
Brianna's daily struggles include:
-not being able to say hi or goodbye to most people (even people she's comfortable with)
-expressing her needs or wants
-asking for help
-expressing her feelings whether good or bad
-talking to anyone she's not totally comfortable with in general
-trying new things/going new places
-events with lots of people
-being the center of attention/getting up in front of people
-sensory issues like hair brushing, teeth brushing, temperature sensitivity, etc
-her severe separation anxiety causes her to have meltdowns if I try to leave her while she's anxious. This even includes just putting her in the car and not getting in myself right away.
Brianna has been seeing a therapist once a month since her diagnosis. She is doing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). She has been making huge progress with her CBT but she still struggles with daily interactions. Selective mutism specialists are very limited in our area. The closest is 3 hours away outside of Philadelphia. The SMart Center not only specializes in SM but they hold intensive treatment camps 4 times a year. We would LOVE to be able to take Brianna to one of their camps but no insurances will cover the cost. Between the cost of the camp, travel expenses, lodging and food.. it is expensive! I have spent countless hours on the phone fighting our insurance companies to cover even some of the costs with no luck. So we are reaching out for help to get our daughter the help she needs to prevail not only in school but in life as a whole! Any help is greatly appreciated!!❤ ❤
I copied a link to the SMart Center below if you would like to know more about the center and the treatment camps.