I learned two new words today.
Selective mutism. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) puts this into perspective:
Some children are shy and do not like to talk to people that they don’t know. They usually start talking when they feel more comfortable. However, some children will not talk at certain times, no matter what. This is selective mutism. It is often frustrating for the child and others.
The DSM V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th Edition) classify and diagnose social and mental disorder for selective mutism when you notice the following:
- have an anxiety disorder
- be very shy
- be afraid to embarrass themselves in public
- want to be alone and not talk with friends or others
I am seeing this more frequently in children who are bullied. But bullying into being cowered to the point of being silenced out of fear is not privy to kids alone.
Adults are not included in the DSM V classification for this as a social and mental problem. And while its disorder is primarily for pediatric patients, hypothetically, the two words encompass what is seen in every walk of society and social class today. When people refuse to voice out their opinion because are afraid of being bashed or sounded off when they provide personal thoughts on various social issues, “selective mutism” are two words that find relevance during these times.
It’s really difficult when you have to deal with intellectually disabled people who have a lack of GABA (gamma amino butyric acid) in their brains because they think they wear a crown.
We need to speak out, when we should. After all, that quiet voice is still a voice that needs to be heard. When all that silence is broken, it will be louder than you think.