Who We Are
We are people living with SM and people who have overcome SM. We are parents, treating professionals, physicians, educators, students, and more. What we all have in common is that we have witnessed or experienced for ourselves the pain of those suffering in silence and the frustration of not being able to help them. Through this online community, we have shared experiences and knowledge, fulfilling our mission to promote public awareness, to educate and support the expansion of research about selective mutism, and to speak out for anyone unable to speak for themselves.
Our mission is to increase public awareness of selective mutism and co-occurring disorders and to promote a greater understanding of these disorders by supporting research initiatives and providing educational resources. We provide scientific research-based support to professionals, affected individuals, and their families so that more people with SM can find their voices.
Meet the SMA Board of Directors
Every member of the SMA Board of Directors is committed to increasing awareness about selective mutism and providing support for those affected by it. Without their tireless efforts, SMA would not be able to do the work we do. Get to know more about our dedicated Board of Directors.
Meet the Scientific Advisory Board
Our Scientific Advisory Board is composed of renowned experts of clinical psychology and speech-language pathology. They specialize in selective mutism among other specialties and provide authoritative advice and insight into the evaluation, treatment, and symptoms of SM for SMA. Learn more about who our advisors are and what they do.
Since the mid-1990s, the Selective Mutism Association (SMA) has been dedicated to increasing awareness about this anxiety disorder. Here’s how we began and how we got to where we are now.
First known as the Selective Mutism Group-Childhood Anxiety Network (SMG-CAN), the Selective Mutism Association was founded by Mr. Robert Helta. A parent of a child with selective mutism, Mr. Helta was frustrated by the lack of resources available for this childhood condition. So, he developed a website designed to provide information on SM.
Becoming a Nonprofit
Under the impassioned support and direction of Dr. Elisa Shipon Blum, a more formal group was formed and SMG-CAN (and later SMA) officially became a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. In 2016, the SMA changed its name from the Selective Mutism Group-Childhood Anxiety Network to the Selective Mutism Association to better reflect our organizational focus of selective mutism rather than a broad focus on all anxiety disorders.
Our Work Today
Since then, many professionals and parents have joined the call for more education, awareness, and connection within the selective mutism community by working tirelessly to help children, adolescents, and adults find their voices. With more than 10,000 users per month, the SMA website effectively increases awareness and education about this disorder. We support families and professionals in the field by hosting an annual conference each year.
Ongoing Research and Educational Efforts
SMA also supports research on selective mutism by connecting with research institutions and providing information and support to professionals through training programs and an active listserv. Additionally, we connect families to information via social media, online resources, and expert chats.
Selective Mutism Training Institute (SMTI)
Over the last five years, the Selective Mutism Training Institute (SMTI) has provided training for both professionals and caregivers. SMTI involves two days of didactic training on what selective mutism is, assessment and treatment strategies for reducing SM and anxiety behaviors, and collaborating with schools. A six-month group consultation program follows to help the trainees implement the strategies learned into their professional or personal lives with those with SM. We’ve seen great success in this program. We hope to expand it for educators and other populations that need increased awareness and support in the area of SM.