Are you and your family traveling a lot this summer?

Below we discuss the difference between the “Time Traveler” and the “Talkative Traveler” to help you prepare your child or teen for any upcoming trips this summer!

The Timid Traveler

Children with Selective Mutism are typically anxious and uncomfortable in new environments. This is especially the case when structure, consistency, routine, and predictability are not in place.

“Timid Travelers” can become more withdrawn and cling to their parents and may act out more often than when they are at home. These are anxious behaviors and parents should realize that their child is acting in such a way from feelings of increased stress.

The Talkative Traveler

Conversely, there are also many children with Selective Mutism who excel with verbal communication when away from their home environment. When in a different place and surrounded by new people, the “Talkative Traveler” may speak in situations that would otherwise elicit mutism in their hometown; around more familiar peers and adults. It is common for parents to comment that their child was not only speaking on vacation but was a chatterbox!

It’s important to note that children with Selective Mutism are incredibly perceptive. They sense when others are expecting them to speak. On vacation, around strangers, and outside of conditioned environments, children with Selective Mutism may feel less expectation. This allows them to initiate play or speak with others more freely.

When compared to “Timed Travelers”, “Talkative Travelers” tend to be less socially anxious. They tend to remain minimally communicative within their conditioned home environments often due to a high sense of expectation from others and concern with bringing attention to themselves. Getting away from the conditioned environment gives them an opportunity to get ‘unstuck’ from their social communication anxieties and/or behaviors.

For both the Talkative and Timid Traveler, implementing social communication strategies and giving opportunities for exposure throughout the travel experience is highly recommended.