Myth No. 2 – Selectively mute children have been traumatized or abused.
This is an unfortunate myth because it may prevent parents from seeking help for a child for fear of being suspected of abuse. There is no evidence linking selective mutism to trauma; children who are selectively mute are comfortable speaking at home but overcome by anxiety in social situations. Experts believe the condition is familial and possibly genetic.
I remember all too well the uncomfortable feeling surrounding Evelena’s diagnosis with Selective Mutism. Uncomfortable in believing people would assume something wasn’t right at home resulting in her diagnosis, after all I was led to believe it was born from trauma or abuse so why wouldn’t everyone else?
The questions asked from the ‘professional’ led with the floating question could we think of anything that may have led to her Selective Mutism, was our home life ok? could we recall any traumatic event? This questioning left me desperately searching for that ‘reason’ something, anything to fit the traumatic event, although we knew nothing was wrong with our home life, I felt I had to prove it.
So, after a lot of soul searching, her accident that led to a hospital theatre trip turned on that light for me, this I discuss more in my ‘Evelena & Selective Mutism’ page where I pin this event as a possible cause, who knows if it was, all I know is how I felt the need to have one at that time.
It’s a really interesting point believing it could be either familial or possibly genetic, as looking at my three other kids, they all have worries and anxieties in their own way. From Ciara going through Primary school, always the only child at the start of each school year worrying about her new teacher, anxious about the changes etc., from me being the one mum who couldn’t leave her at parties on her own to now, where it’s hard to believe she was actually like that and she is a grounded confident young lady.
I wonder if being an overally anxious mum when they were young has rubbed off on them, absorbing my new found motherhood fears like a sponge or if it is all just genetic, or even 50/50.
I remember the anxiety of being a mum for the first time and forever being at the doctors with Ciara worrying about anything and everything even believing her to be blind at one stage…. when I think back arrrghhhhh!!! But it makes a good friend of mine laugh time and time again. It definitely helped that I had a very patient doctor who, I believe, took some enjoyment in my visits often having to excuse himself for laughing. looking back I wouldn’t have it any other way, he was great. It was a sad day when he left, I just hope my regular visit’s didn’t drive him out that exit door!
Fortunately my husband is the total opposite of me and has always been my buffer steadying me back into reality. He never ridiculed me at that time and was always on hand to support and reassure me and for anyone who knows me he had his work cut out!!