“Don’t be scared. It’s me, Allison. I’ve been scared like that too. I know what it’s like. I was just like you,” I said to my future preschooler.
Allison was in preschool when she was diagnosed with Selective Mutism. Today, 15 years later, she is applying to college. Here is an excerpt from Allison’s college essay as she recalls her journey to overcome Selective Mutism:
It’s a typical preschool day. I am hiding under the loft in my classroom as usual. Ethan and Jack are heading my way. I’m so excited. Maybe someone finally wants to play with me. They brought tools. “Wait, stop, what are you doing?” They’re trying to stick their tools in my mouth. I hate it. I want them to stop. I squeeze my teeth shut. The tears are rolling down. They’re looking for my voice. Someone please help me! It’s there, I promise! It just won’t come out…
I remember long drives to see Dr. E [at the SMart Center]. I loved those long drives. Mom drove every time. Then we had breakfast in Philadelphia, and then I get to play with Dr. E. I went from becoming completely blank and paralyzed when asked a question to becoming frustrated. I wanted to talk. I was going to talk. I was finally able to make one friend, Jenna. I would tell Jenna what I needed in school and she would tell the teacher. Finally, I was able to say “here” when my name was called in attendance. I could finally do what the other kids could do. ‘I know what it’s like. I have been on the other side. It’s me, Allison. Don’t be scared.’ I strongly believe that your childhood shapes your future…The internal battle I faced with Selective Mutism was not an easy one, but I succeeded, and I hope to help others do the same. Overcoming my mutism has allowed me to express myself and show my true colors to the world around me. Just as I have overcome my mutism, I will overcome whatever else life throws my way. I will face my problems head on and prevail, because I am Allison Levin and I am no longer afraid.”