Saturday, December 24, 2016

Here's to 2017!

I am not broken. But I used to think that I was.

Because of the molestation, because of the rape, because of the verbal abuse: “Idiot, stupid, you are ugly and will always amount to nothing”; “Big deal, so you got to endorse a book and get mentioned in it. You are not an author. You will always be stupid. Don’t go getting any ideas”. And so I didn’t... Until I did.

My daughter, Becca was diagnosed with Selective Mutism in the early ‘90s, at the age of 2.5. Selective Mutism is a childhood anxiety disorder in which the child experiences intense anxiety that literally renders them unable to speak in social situations. When Becca was first diagnosed, I felt helpless. I had no idea that this disorder even existed, had no idea how to help myself with my own anxiety and depression, and had no idea where to begin. I spent my nights googling how to treat childhood anxiety and my days calling psychiatrists’ offices, desperate to get Becca help.

When Becca was in treatment and began to gain some control over her anxiety, I decided that I wanted to ensure that other parents in my community never had to struggle like I did to help their child find their voice. So in 1999, I founded a support group and called it The Selectively Silent Child. The group ran monthly at the renowned Hospital for Sick Children here in Toronto, Canada. We had families from all over Ontario drive in for our 2 hour meeting. My daughter was instrumental in having helped me to make tremendous strides in raising awareness and educating families and professionals.

2004 was the year we took it online, creating our first website, with help from a good friend called Jean. The website helped families affected by SM from around the world find us, and we helped them find resources.

A few years later, we went on hiatus, as I was working full time and taking 3 night-time classes through Seneca College, and Becca was grappling with the sudden appearance multiple chronic illnesses. We vowed that when we were ready, we’d come back to The Selectively Silent Child and help more families, because we loved our SM community.

In 2012 we slowly began to create a new site for The Selectively Silent Child. In 2015 and 2016 we spoke to lots of parents and increased our web presence.

Now it’s about a week until the end of 2016, and we are feeling introspective. This is the time of year when most people make at least one resolution. While Becca and I don’t believe in resolutions, because they’re often vague and rarely concrete, we do believe in setting goals for ourselves.

This year, more than ever, Becca and I wish to make a measurable, tangible difference in the lives of people like you, whose families are affected by Selective Mutism.

That’s why we’ve created these goals for next year. In 2017, we will:

  1. Launch The Selectively Silent Child newsletter. We’ll bring you free weekly updates on all things parenting and mental health related. (If you haven’t signed up yet, enter your info in the box at the bottom of this post, and you’re good to go!)

  2. Post more content on our social media. We’ve loved interacting with you online, and are looking forward to chatting with you some more, and sharing links to great content to help you help your child.

  3. Take care of our own health, both physical and mental. You can’t help your child if you’re not helping yourself-- that’s something we stress to all of the parents with whom we work. We’re going to continue to take that advice to heart and practice mindfulness, self care and healthy coping strategies. And as always, we’ll share whatever techniques work for us, because they may work for you, too!

Thank you so much for being part of the Selectively Silent Child family, and remember: no matter who you are, where you come from, or what anybody else says: You are valuable, you are important, and your child loves and needs you.

See you in the new year!
Love, Lin and Becca at The Selectively Silent Child

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