The mission of the Selective Mutism Association and the Childhood Anxiety Network is to increase public awareness of selective mutism and related childhood anxiety disorders, to promote greater understanding of these disorders through education, support of research and to provide support to professionals, affected individuals and their families.
We are parents, grandparents, siblings and family members from all walks of life: accountants, artists, engineers, carpenters, electricians, librarians, lawyers, veterinarians, stay-at-home-moms, musicians, secretaries, dentists, nannies and bookkeepers.
We are also physicians, psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists, social workers, speech and language pathologists, teachers, school administrators, occupational therapists, counselors, nurses, researchers, students and other health and education professionals.
What we all have in common is that we have witnessed the pain of children who suffer in silence and we have experienced the frustration of not knowing how to help them. We have come together to form an online community to help one another and, most importantly, our children.
We share 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 our children who are unable to speak for themselves. We pride ourselves on being the premier information source for SM.
Our Values Support What We Do
SMA exists because of a belief in the social responsibility to bring about progress for all individuals who suffer from selective mutism. We believe that there is an obligation to foster awareness and understanding so that children, adolescents and adults affected by selective mutism will have access to the help they need to overcome their anxiety and reach their full potential of personal growth and participation in society. We also believe that lack of financial resources and language barriers should not stand in the way of obtaining this treatment and support.
Driven by compassion that is born out of our personal and professional experiences with SM, we share a commitment to providing the tools and resources needed to support individuals and families, and to educate schools, professionals and other members of our community. We are consistently responsive to the needs of our constituents.
By drawing on knowledge by leading experts in the field of childhood anxiety, we create high quality educational materials and conferences and earn the credibility and respect of school and health professionals. To ensure the reliability of information that is disseminated through our website, print materials, conferences and all other communications, we consult with professional advisors and other experts, reference peer-reviewed articles, and follow accepted treatment and research protocols. Our reputation for being the leading information source on selective mutism allows professionals to learn the current best treatment practice guidelines and empowers families to advocate for effective treatment strategies and school accommodations for their children.
Our reputation is upheld by showing integrity and honesty in all of our actions. We are fully accountable for educational resources we create and compile (unless otherwise noted) and are good stewards of financial resources that are entrusted to us. We uphold the highest standards of fiscal responsibility and ethics.
To achieve true change and acceptance for our children, we are proactive in promoting research, bringing together experts, and actively disseminating the most current information about selective mutism. We seek out every possible opportunity to educate others about evidence-based treatment strategies so that all children will have access to effective treatment methods. We advocate for early diagnosis and screening of population groups of children that might be vulnerable to developing selective mutism and encourage parents and professionals to advocate for appropriate school accommodations and other resources that may be needed to help our children.
The Selective Mutism Association (SMA) denounces all forms of racism and discrimination. We, as an organization, acknowledge that systemic oppression based on race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, socioeconomic status and many other social identities is an enduring aspect of society, and we must work to undermine all forms of inequality. This is especially important to SMA’s mission, because these systemic inequities affect access to accurate diagnosis, appropriate treatment, and representation within our communities and our healthcare institutions.
While the acknowledgement and intention to reduce inequities is the first step, we know that is not enough. We are committed to ongoing education and taking action steps with measurable outcomes.
• Support efforts to increase access to treatment for all populations, especially disadvantaged groups who historically and presently face greater barriers to appropriate therapeutic treatment.
• Develop and create a more representative and inclusive internal community, especially within our treating professionals and board members.
• Acknowledge and engage in ongoing efforts to increase awareness of systemic policies and practices that directly and indirectly impact historically disenfranchised communities.
How we have started and will continue the work:
• Created and disseminated a survey for parents, treating professionals, and the greater SMA community eliciting feedback regarding representation and inclusiveness
• Launched a project to translate treatment resources into several languages
• Offered trainings for parents and professionals focused on treating SM in multilingual children, teens and families
• Increased representation on our board in 2021 to include more people of color, young adults who have recovered from selective mutism and varying disciplines within professionals
• Broadened focus of newsletters and webinars to reflect topics related to areas of diversity
In order to advance this mission, each of us in the Selective Mutism Association has a role to play- it may mean listening, speaking up, continuing to learn or taking action. We are committed to these efforts in order to best serve our community.