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Being quiet is the only way some little children know how to scream for help. A closer look at selective mutism — the causes, the hardships, and how parents can help their kids find their voice again.
I did it all for the wrong reasons. I’m telling you this now; back then I didn’t admit it to anyone, not to the neighbor who got me involved, not to my husband, not even to myself. I did it because of the peer pressure. Because we were all standing in the hallway and Shoshana Weiss had caught me off guard. I did it because everyone else was so forthcoming and so loud in their excuses that I had to say something. Saying that I wasn’t interested, or that I hate cooking, just wouldn’t fly.
Suddenly, I zeroed in on a cluster of photos of a sweet African American boy with a kippa perched proudly on his head, his warm smile gazing from various photos chronicling different stages of his life. “And who’s this?” I wondered out loud. “Oh, that’s Sruli. He’s our best friend’s son.” Best friend? Had I met this best friend? I mentally ran through the list of guests at my wedding, but couldn’t place anyone who could fit the description of Sruli’s parents.
When Shana Zelinger of Brooklyn, New York, married Shmayie Friedman, she looked forward to many things. One of them was a new last name. Just imagine, she thought gleefully. No longer would she be subject to being last in line. Their children wouldn’t be forced to sit in the back corner of the classroom. And think of the graduations, when Abramowitzes, Baums, and even Fines received their diplomas to the sound of thunderous clapping, while Zelingers were lucky to get even a smattering of applause.