Lack of awareness, insufficient knowledge, inadequate education
lack of awareness
Selective Mutism is almost unheard of by the general public. The programs that have been shown on TV about Selective Mutism are few and far between. There is limited help, there are limited resources simply because there is not enough attention being directed towards this 'not so uncommon' disorder. This lack of awareness and understanding of the disorder often results in it being ignored or under-diagnosed.
In general, doctors, pediatricians, nurses are not very knowledgeable about Selective Mutism. Therefore, at regular checkups many children may go unnoticed as the signs for SM are not recognized. It can often take years for some parents to obtain a correct diagnosis for their child. Also, while some treating professionals may have heard of the disorder, not many can describe in detail the symptoms, the behaviors associated with SM and the appropriate treatment needed to help in the recovery process.
Therapists, psychologists, school counselors, psychiatrists, social workers, speech language pathologists (SLPs) typically do not learn about Selective Mutism in detail during their studies. Even if SM is mentioned, it is only discussed briefly in class along with other anxiety disorders. Therefore, many of these professionals do not have an in-depth understanding of the disorder and are unable to provide the right treatment for these children. Many teachers too may have heard of Selective Mutism, but again they do not formally receive enough education, training and professional guidance to properly assist these vulnerable children.