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Selective Mutism.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

This is the condition that I have. It is more common than autism, yet still no one seems to know about it.

Courtesy of wikipedia:
Selective mutism is a social anxiety condition, in which a person who is normally capable of speech is unable to speak in given situations.

Selective mutism is usually characterised by the following:

Consistent failure to speak in specific social situations (in which there is an expectation for speaking, e.g., at school) despite speaking in other situations.
The disturbance interferes with educational or occupational achievement or with social communication.
The duration of the disturbance is at least 1 month (not limited to the first month of school).
The failure to speak is not due to a lack of knowledge of, or comfort with, the spoken language required in the social situation.
The disturbance is not better accounted for by a Communication Disorder (e.g., Stuttering) and does not occur exclusively during the course of a Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Schizophrenia, or other Psychotic Disorder.

The former name elective mutism indicates a widespread misconception even among psychologists that selective mute people choose to be silent in certain situations, while the truth is that they are forced by their extreme anxiety to remain silent; despite their will to speak, they just cannot make any voice. To reflect the involuntary nature of this disorder, its name had been changed to selective mutism in 1994.

Typical sufferers have some of the following traits when anxious, all of which are often perceived as rudeness:

They find it difficult to maintain eye contact. (anxiety)
Often don't smile and have blank expressions. (anxiety)
They move stiffly and awkwardly. (anxiety)
They find situations where talk is normally expected particularly hard to handle. Answering school registers, saying hello, goodbye, thank-you.
They tend to worry about things more than others
They can be very sensitive to noise and crowds
Find it difficult to talk about themselves or express their feelings
On the positive side, many sufferers have

Above average intelligence, perception, or are inquisitive
Are sensitive to others' thoughts and feelings (empathy)
Have very good powers of concentration (focused)
Often have a good sense of right/wrong/fairness (justice)
Wristbands: Many wear the turquoise wristband in an attempt to raise awareness for Selective Mutism which have been sent all over the world.

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