Finding Our Voices is an online magazine and community about selective mutism, written by those with first hand experience and knowledge of the disorder. The first issue of the magazine came out at the end of August 2014 and has had views from all over the world from the UK and USA to Japan, India and Australia.
What’s in the magazine?
- Interviews with SM organisations such as SMIRA and the Selective Mutism Group
- Coping techniques
- Readers poems, stories and articles
- Your experiences with SM
- Raising awareness/fundraising
There have been articles from people with SM, their parents, teachers and friends. The magazine includes as many articles as possible sent in from yourselves and so the topics vary each issue.
For more details on what is in each issue and to view the magazine you can go to the Magazine page.
What is selective mutism?
Selective mutism is a disorder wihere the person has difficulty speaking in certain situations (such as school). They are capable of speech and understand what is being said but may be unable to respond due to anxiety.
Although some people may not hear them speak a word, someone with selective mutism (SM) is likely to be chatty and confident in places where they feel most comfortable such as at home. In fact, it often comes as a surprise to the parents when they find out their child isn’t speaking at school because of how loud they are at home!
It is estimated that around seven in a thousand children have SM, although as only a small number of professionals are aware of the disorder this number may be much higher; it could well be as common as austism.
SM is most common in children and is often diagnosed in early childhood, however there are also a lot of teenagers and adults who also suffer with the disorder. If left untreated it can be carried on into adulthood and can be debilitating (how do you get a job if you can’t talk?). But there is hope and with the right help, support and advice it can certainly be overcome. Have a look at the Useful SM Links page for suggested websites, blogs and forums for selective mutism support.
There magazine is now yearly and the next issue is due out early October 2015.
If you would like to send in your experience with SM, an article, story or artwork for the next issue or for the website please email it to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Go to the Contribute page for more details.
I’m Rosie, 27, and have had selective mutism for most of my life. I first started the magazine as I wanted to give something back to those who have helped me through the SM and I thought a magazine would be a good way to get all of the great support and advice from the different SM groups, charities, organisations and people together.
After coming up with the idea in the early summer 2014 I started looking into if it was possible. I wanted to create a free magazine but without having to spend money on it myself. I set up a free WordPress account and started blogging for the first time. After looking at various different magazine websites I decided to design it in Microsoft Publisher and convert it to a pdf so I could upload it on the blog.
I’ve spent a lot more time working on it than I thought I would but I really enjoy doing it. It’s helped me open up about SM and I can talk about it for the first time with my family and friends. It’s also amazing to hear from others who have gone through the same struggle; I wish that I had known more people with SM when I was younger and felt alone but it’s the now that matters.
The magazine is put together by myself, Rosie, in my spare time. I have had SM since childhood and I wanted to give something back to the SM community who have helped me and also to give hope to others that it can be overcome. You can read a bit more about me in the first issue of the magazine.