Help Me to Speak

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This insightful documentary follows the lives children who suffer from selective mutism and the families who want to help them. This illness manifests itself through stuttering, or stammering as it is also known. Selective mutism is a psychological disorder which causes disruption to the flow of speech by involuntary pauses, repetition and prolongation of words or sounds.

The first part of the documentary introduces us to Madeline and Robert as well as explaining the specifics of the disorder that they share. We also get to hear from their parents on how selective mutism is affecting their own lives as well as those of their children.

Over the cause of a year, we get to see two completely different treatment methods. Robert has had little success after trying years of non-medicated techniques and his parents decide to go down the road of prescribed medication. We follow Robert as he meets with a psychiatrist who decides to put him on a course of Prozac treatment.

On the other hand Madeline’s course of treatment is one based on behavioural techniques such as those laid out in Maggie Johnson’s book The Selective Mutism Resource Manual. Maggie Johnson actually visits Madeline in order to demonstrate the ‘sliding in’ technique to her parents.

Both treatments are continued at school and we get to see the success of both methods, demonstrating the importance of every child having their own tailor-made treatment.

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