My family entered into the world of Selective Mutism when my now 16 year old daughter was turning 3. The precocious, independent and fully verbal child I experienced at home "disappeared" upon entering school for the first time. She existed in seemingly two completely different worlds, and brought us on a journey that we never could have imagined.
Despite my own training as a clinical social worker and special educator, Selective Mutism was new to me and presented its own learning curve complete with missteps and self-doubt. But it also introduced me to a community of parents and skilled professionals who were at the ready when my second daughter, now 14, was also diagnosed with SM.
Ten years ago, I traveled with my 2 young daughters to the Child Mind Institute in New York City, and began a life-changing therapeutic process with world-renowned SM specialist Dr. Steven Kurtz and his team of highly skilled therapists (shout out to Melissa Ortega and Laura Kirmayer!). In the years that followed, I studied and honed my own SM skills so that I could provide much-needed local support to other children and their families. I am proud to be the Selective Mutism specialist at Arbit Counseling in Bethesda, Maryland, a certified PCIT-SM practitioner a co-facilitator with Dr. Steven Kurtz in his PCIT-SM training program for Selective Mutism professionals.
I work with children with Selective Mutism (and their families) in Maryland, Virginia and DC. Other providers (as well as lots of great information and resources) can be found at the Selective Mutism Association website.
*Selective Mutism (SM) is an anxiety disorder characterized by an individual's inability to speak in one or more social settings (i.e. school, public places, with adults) despite being able to speak comfortably in other settings (i.e. at home with family).