Battling Anxiety with Selective Mutism: An investigative study aimed to measure the level of awareness and attitude of teachers and students towards a Selectively Mute child, as well as discovering the conditions impact on the child’s academic development in Private Primary Schools in Dubai.

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The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
Selective Mutism, compared to other disorders, has received minimal attention due to its rarity that consequently makes it understudied and under researched. Therefore, children with SM have been constantly dismissed as shy or having personality insecurities, or other social disorders, inadvertently diminishing the seriousness of their social anxiety. Lack of awareness and positive attitude are the primary factors in allowing the condition to persist and worsen, as the children grow older making it more difficult to overcome. Thereby, it is paramount for an SM child’s successful treatment to have access to early intervention, including the support, acceptance and understanding of those surrounding him, that is achieved through sufficient knowledge of the condition and appropriate intervention plans. This research measured the level of awareness and attitude of both teachers and students who are in daily contact with the SM child at school. The following was uncovered through the usage of surveys, by questioning teachers and students about their knowledge and experience of having an SM child in the classroom. Much of which proved the existence of a high level of lack of awareness among the 200 surveyed individuals of both teachers and students. On the other hand, there seemed to be a generally positive attitude and a strong willingness to help the SM child overcome their anxiety that was reflected by both categories. Besides measuring awareness and attitude of others, it is equally important to assess whether the condition affects a child’s academic development, however results proved no relation between SM and a child’s academic development. In conclusion, the research primarily aimed to clarify doubts, myths or misconceptions commonly held by the two participating categories with regards to SM.
selective mutism, academic development, Dubai, intervention plans