Being Mum – My Child Won’t Speak – BBC One looks at selective mutism

by Lisa McGarry

Red, Megan and Danielle appear to be three perfectly normal, healthy girls. But there is something puzzling about each of them. They all have selective mutism – a condition which means they can speak but, most of the time, they don’t. My Child Won’t Speak follows their lives as they attempt to tackle their greatest fear – speaking. The film forms part of BBC One’s Being Mum season and is the first of two season films commissioned and supported by Headroom – the BBC’s three-year mental health and well-being campaign.

In Northamptonshire, most people never hear eight-year-old Red talk. Instead, she communicates using a white board, markers and a cloth. Her grandad, John, has never heard her speak a word and it’s breaking his heart.

In Dover, 10-year-old Megan goes cheerleading every Thursday, but she never cheers. The only place she talks freely is at home; at school she never utters a word. Her teacher Mr Lockerby fears that she is virtually invisible in class and it’s affecting her education.

Danielle from Caerphilly is 15. She has also been trying to beat selective mutism. A year ago she was still answering questions with a white board, but now she can open her mouth and speak. She’s not there yet though – a simple trip to the shops can still render her speechless.

To talk freely like other children, the three girls must confront their personal fears and anxieties about using their voices. My Child Won’t Speak joins them on their individual journeys as they start to find a way forward.

Tuesday 2 February
10.35-11.25pm BBC ONE