字幕列表 影片播放 列印英文字幕 Selective mutism is a condition that affects many children, and can last into adulthood. It’s like a phobia of speaking. The child will have at least one ‘safe’ environment, where they are able to speak normally, but in other situations they don’t say a word. Most people can think of a situation that gives them anxiety - like public speaking or a job interview… This anxiety can make you forget what you wanted to say, stumble over your words, or even feel like the words just won’t come out. People with sm experience this feeling daily, in any situation that involves talking. This anxiety feels like the most extreme stage fright - they find themselves completely unable to speak. Selective mutism usually starts in early childhood. A common example is a child who talks happily at home but seems shy in front of unfamiliar people. Then at 3 years old they go to nursery and BAM overload. They feel scared and anxious in this unfamiliar place, and their mind connects that anxiety with speaking. Like any phobia, this connection is then reinforced by avoiding the scary thing. Expectation to speak causes anxiety to rise, avoiding speaking reduces the anxiety, confirming the belief that speaking is scary. The way to break these patterns is not by forcing the child to speak, but by reducing the anxiety so that speech comes easily, just as it does at home. It might seem completely illogical that a person can talk in one situation but not another. For example, talking happily in the supermarket, and becoming completely mute in a clothes shop. These are both just shops - what’s the difference?! From the individual’s perspective though, the difference will be perfectly obvious. In this case the person knows that in the clothes shop, at any moment a staff member might pounce, asking ‘Can I help you?!’ and expecting a response. Thus the person feels more anxious, making them less able to speak. However, in the supermarket, they know the staff will leave them alone, so they feel less anxious, and more able to speak. A major difficulty for people with sm is *pressure* to speak. Children are particularly subjected to this - ‘say please!’ ‘say thank you!’. Pressure to speak is very unhelpful, but *opportunities* to speak are useful... So instead of asking a direct question like ‘How are you today?...‘I SAID HOW ARE YOU??’ ’oh god I have to say something now… why did he even ask me this? People only say this to be polite! Now he’s going to think I’m rude because I haven’t answered yet! what can I do to fix this? It’s too much! Oh god, my voice just won’t come out… he must think I’m stupid…’ ‘Well if you’re not going to say anything’.. you could try saying instead: ‘I hope you’re feeling well today.’ ‘ ‘ahhh, no pressure to speak, now I feel much better, maybe so much better that I could even say someth…’ ‘I’m feeling very well today thank you. How are you?’ For support with selective mutism, contact a speech and language therapist. And take a look at the links in the description for more information.