I remember about three years ago when we were at a youth celebration weekend. We were playing a version of a game called pass the parcel. All we needed to do was to pass a big parcel to one another and whoever the parcel stopped at needed to open some of the wrapping paper and do the instructions that they were given. Also if the person decided not to the instructions or tasks that they were given, they then had to get squirted with water instead. When it was my turn to open some of the wrapping paper my instruction was to say three things that I was thankful for. I remember that I wanted to say something and I was thinking of three things to say. But then I was suddenly unable to do it. So then I decided to be squirted with water instead, and it did seem silly to me because I was given quite a simple task to do really.
I didn’t think too much of it afterwards. I was reminded of it again just a few days ago, and I am sharing this story to say that someone with selective mutism will often find it quite impossible to say maybe just one thing to someone or just do a simple little task. They are unable to do things that most people wouldn’t be bothered by or maybe even give a second thought to.
Children, teenagers and even adults with selective mutism often find it even more harder to speak when they are put under pressure to do something and when they are required to meet expectations. Therefore it is important to be aware of this when interacting with someone who has selective mutism and remove all pressure to speak.