A Voice Unheard: Helping Alena to Speak
Organized by: Briana Petruzzi
Alena Esposito was diagnosed with selective mutism at the age of 4. Selective mutism is an anxiety disorder, in which the affected is unable to speak in public places or unfamiliar situations. While perfectly capable of speaking to family members and in their own home, Selective mutism children are unable to make friends, ask for help, or speak up when they are hurt. They are often bullied and isolated because of their disorder, and cannot speak out for help or understanding. Alena expresses her thoughts through artwork- doing anything she can to communicate with the people around her.
Selective mutism is an anxiety disorder, and like most other anxiety disorders, it can be treated with intensive therapy. While Alena has seen countless experts, and received extensive help from schools and state care workers, little has helped her improve. In fact, her disorder may be worsening. Fortunately, the Selective Mutism Center is just an hour and a half from where Alena and her family live. At the Center, expert Dr. Elisa Shipon-Blum and her experienced research staff provide treatment and care for the patients, their families, and their schools. Dr. Shipon-Blum developed the evidence-based Social Communication Anxiety Treatment (S-CAT), which has helped over 5,000 children world wide.
Unfortunately, the therapy needed to help Alena is quite expensive. The initial visit costs $2,500. Every additional visit (they estimate 5 more will be needed) costs $500. Alena is the youngest of 6 children, and is the second of her siblings to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. In a family of that size, resources are limited and the help she needs is just out of reach. With your help, we will be able to afford the best treatment available for her condition. The only thing standing between Alena's selective mutism and a normal, healthy life is the cost of therapy.
For more information, you can visit the following links:
Selective Mutism Center
More Information About Selective Mutism