Friday, March 04, 2011

Selective Mutism

Our daughter did a presentation on Selective Mutism in one of her Education classes this week. One web site begins to define this phenomenon in this way:
Selective Mutism is a psychiatric disorder most commonly found in children, characterized by a persistent failure to speak in select settings, which continues for more than 1 month. These children understand spoken language and have the ability to speak normally. In typical cases, they speak to their parents and a few selected others.
I hadn't thought of it, but Sarah immediately remembered Paul McCartney's song, She's Given Up Talking, to use as part of her presentation. She said that while most of her classmates were into country music, the song seemed to make the issue accessible to everyone. One of her classmates, Sarah said, was "rocking out" to the song.

"She's Given Up Talking" appears on McCartney's 2001 LP, Driving in the Rain. In an interview I heard at the time of the album's release, I remember Macca saying that the track was inspired by the experience of friends, whose daughter seems to have evidenced Selective Mutism.

It must be terribly frustrating to address, but, particularly given the increasing evidence of bullying in public schools, Selective Mutism can also seem like a very rational response to an increasingly irrational world.

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