Toni Pakula is the driving force and co-ordinator of Voice, with a huge passion for promoting awareness and empathic understanding of selective mutism. Toni is Mum of three, and has been homeschooling her two oldest children for the past six months …
“My daughter, now 8, was diagnosed as having selective mutism at age 6 after failing to speak consistently at school for more than 8 months. My son, aged 7, also appears to have SM tendencies but has never been diagnosed as such.
We have been on a real journey after discovering that our daughter’s silence around people was more than just ‘shyness’, and our biggest battle has been educating other people, including the school. Without all-round support and intervention the tunnel can seem very bleak and dark.
I found that most people, even GPs and CAMHS have often never heard of selective mutism, and this doesn’t help with accessing resources and support. It breaks my heart when I hear stories of children and their parents struggling and not being able to get the support or understanding they so desperately need.
My drive and passion for VOICE is to help others touched by or suffering from SM to give them a place of resource and support, and an understanding they are not alone.”