Our goal with #artspeaks is to create awareness on mental illness and more specifically Selective Mutism. Selective Mutism is an anxiety disorder which causes those who have it (mostly children) to become so paralyzed with fear that they are completely unable to speak in certain settings, such as school or in public. People with SM are perfectly able to speak, and sometimes even talk excessively at home or other places they feel comfortable, but are physically incapable of uttering a single word in select settings.
Selective Mutism is unique because even though some research estimates that it may be up to twice as prevalent as Autism although children with autism can also have Selective Mutism. 1 in every 140 people are diagnosed with Selective Mutism yet few people have even ever heard of it! Since so few people know what SM is, the number of undiagnosed cases is probably much higher.
What we want people to know that just because some kids dont say hi or answer your questions its not because they're rude or in a "bad mood" it may be because they are not able to talk to you and our hope is that people approach kids and families with an open understanding mind.
Children with SM are not just shy the difference is that selective mutism affects a child's ability to function. For example if a child that is shy gets hurt they will still call out for help but a child with SM may suffer greatly in silence which might put them in danger if they require immediate assistance. Children with SM require treatment and if left untreated it could lead to poor academics, isolation, depression and self medicating with alcohol/drugs later on.
Although there is no miracle cure but with supports children with SM may overcome it and learn how to cope with severe anxiety disorders.
Art has been my family's chosen form of therapy and we would like to spread this joy into other families while creating awareness towards Selective Mutism and other mental illnesses. It seems our culture has misinformed us that art/painting and being creative is something you must be born with. Sadly this is incorrect. Art is a form of expression. There is no right or wrong way to create art. Art is simply perception, our feelings, & very personal like your voice. Art helps people of all ages express themselves, explore colours/moods and helps everyone understand our own emotions as well. So please check out our videos and give art a try.
Did you know that art has great healing effects and gives everyone a voice!
For more reliable info on selective mutism visit the following website:
if you suspect your child may have Selective Mutism seek help from your family doctor immediately!
Early intervention is critical!
We need to advocate for our children and educate anyone involved in our children's lives so they can have all the supports they need to thrive!