7 Benefits of Selective Mutism

There's a lot of information out there about why having selective mutism can be a bummer. Yeah, it isn't a walk on the beach or a party on the moon, but it's not all bad. Here's a list of good things that usually applies if you have selective mutism. You are highly empathetic. You can understand what others are going through because you've also been through a lot, and you can sort of go, oh, if I was in that situation, I'd feel like that. You become great at keeping secrets. People know that if they tell you something meaningful…
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Selective Mutism and Enabling

Ice cream guy: "What's your favorite kind of ice cream?" -Child looks nervous- Child's mom: "Oh, she loves chocolate!" Coming to the rescue is a natural and pure instinct that comes from good intentions. She isn't talking, and everyone feels the tension. So I will be her voice. This is called enabling, where you try to help someone, but it doesn't necessarily help. Something you could do instead is use a combination of small steps and positive reinforcement. Like telling her to whisper it in your ear and then letting her get some extra toppings on her chocolate ice cream.…
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Selective Mutism and Contamination

Certain people and situations can become contaminated. Say, for example, you never talked around Russell. If Russell is in the room, you don't talk. But at home you talk to your mom and dad freely. What happens if Russell unexpectedly shows up at home? Mom, dad, and Russell are all in the living room talking, and mom asks you a question. You may become silent, maybe just non-verbal. Then Russell goes into the kitchen for a soda. Now you can answer her question out loud, but not loud enough for Russell to hear. In this case, home would be a…
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Basic Voice Exercises For Selective Mutism

To become good at talking and to get over anxiety, it is probably a good idea to get the basics down first. Michael Jordan shot thousands of free-throws to get good at basketball, Tiger Woods hit thousands of golf balls to get good at golf, and Roger Federer hit thousands of tennis balls to get good at tennis. If you are trying to talk to somebody new, it will be a lot easier if you're not having to deal with both of these: the anxiety of not knowing what to say and the anxiety of talking to a stranger. Here…
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Selective Mutism Resolutions

If you have had selective mutism, and you have gone to school, chances are that after a long holiday or a summer break from school, one of the resolutions that you emphatically decided upon sounded something like, this time will be different, this time I will talk. Maybe it worked, maybe it didn't. The truth is that this is probably not one of the best ways to go about making a change in your life. If you are dedicated enough and have enough sheer will-power to overcome years and years of conditioning to not talk, then it is possible that…
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Public Speaking and Selective Mutism

Last week I spoke at a literary reception at my college. I sent in six poems to Tetrahedra, the poetry and art publication on campus, and four of them made it into the final printing. Mrs. G, the editor of Tetrahedra, sent me an email a few weeks before, inviting me to this reception and telling me that one of my poems was getting an award. She also said that this was an opportunity for those involved to get up and say a few words. If it had been a few years ago, I'd have shuddered at the idea of…
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