Raising awareness of a rare condition

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Selective mutism is a severe social anxiety disorder that four-year-old Nicolas Mendoza-Gonzalez has to deal with.

It makes talking, especially to strangers, incredibly hard, and although he won’t find out until next month if he has been officially diagonsed, the signs indicate that he has the condition.

“We are pretty sure our wee man Nico has selective mutism. We find out next month,” said Nicolas’s mother, Daniela Gonzalez-Rubio.

This month is Selective Mutism Awareness Month and they would love people to know more about the condition.

“We want to get the condition out there and let people know that it actually does affect people, but if they wonder why Nico won’t talk to them, then that’s why.”

While Nico is a very chatty wee man at home, in the outside world, his vocabularly freezes.

“He’s a real chatterbox at home. He’s always singing and talking and doing everything, but around adults and strangers, he wants to talk but the words just freeze inside of him and nothing comes out,” she said

Mrs Gonzalez-Rubio said it can be difficult at times.

“Yeah, it can be really tough because people will just stare at him and expect him to say something, when I know he’s trying to but it just won’t come out.”

Kindy was originally a problem, but Nico now thrives in this enviornment.

“He just loves kindy and going and seeing his friends, who he will happily talk to and the teachers as well because he is familiar with them, but when it’s someone he doesn’t know, then it’s hard,” she said.

Mrs Gonzalez-Rubio said her son had come to terms with his problem.

“He enjoys the fact that I can openly tell people about his condition and that’s why he’s not talking. Hopefully one day he will overcome his fear.”

To promote Selective Mutism Awareness Month, Mrs Gonzalez-Rubio and her son will be wearing blue ribbons.

The condition affects two to eight children in every 10,000.

By BRAYDEN LINDSAY

PHOTO: BRAYDEN LINDSAY

QUIET: Daniela Gonzalez-Rubio reads a book to her son Nico, who finds it very hard to talk to strangers due to selective mutism.