Parents seek support group for rare disorder

PUBLISHED: 11:35 13 March 2008 | UPDATED: 13:05 06 May 2010

Molly behaves like any other 10-year-old at home

Molly behaves like any other 10-year-old at home

THE parents of a young girl with a rare emotional disorder are hoping to hear from others in the same position to set up a support group. Molly Bradford, aged 10, who lives in St Albans with her mum and dad, Claudia and John, behaves just like any other l

THE parents of a young girl with a rare emotional disorder are hoping to hear from others in the same position to set up a support group.

Molly Bradford, aged 10, who lives in St Albans with her mum and dad, Claudia and John, behaves just like any other little girl when she is at home.

But outside of the home, she becomes totally withdrawn and uncommunicative, even clamming up with her teachers at school.

Molly suffers from the disorder Selective Mutism which causes children to chat away in some situations but remain silent in others. It is a condition which begins early in life and can be triggered by situations such as starting school but it can last through a child's school life.

Molly's dad John explained that they first picked it up when she started at nursery. "She wasn't talking or joining in and things like that," he explained.

But it was not until she was in Year Four at school when a teacher voiced her strong concerns about the way in which Molly would just nod or hold up cards in response to questions that the family was able to put a name to their daughter's problem.

Molly has had speech therapy, been referred to the speech and language department at the St Albans children's clinic and has been given counselling but nothing has made any difference.

John admitted that to have a child who does not communicate with other children and adults has proved very distressing. He added: "Sometimes it is completely unbelievable. For instance she will be in a packed train and she will chat to her mum and dad really loudly but if anyone turns around and starts talking to her, she clams up."

He went on: "She is a pretty strong character and can be stubborn and doesn't like to be told what to do. When you hear her speak in the home, she talks normally to relatives but she goes to school with some friends and hardly talks to them."

He admitted that a lot of people thought Molly was just very shy and would grow out of it but the family knew it could take many years to overcome and are concerned about how she will cope at secondary school. John said: "We would like to start some sort of support group where parents and children can interact. Parents can knock around ideas among themselves. Selective Mutism is very rare and some people might not even know their child has got it and just assumed they are really shy."

Anyone interested in a support group is asked to email John and Claudia at joncla.bradford@notlworld.com

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