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Young Filipino who did not speak for 3 years wrote a book about Selective Mutism


Sean Emmanuel Tibe, a young Filipino in Abu Dhabi, did not speak at school for three years. He had a severe anxiety disorder called Selective Mutism.

But despite his condition the 11-year-old was able to write a book that would raise public awareness about Selective Mutism.

“For three years I faced many challenges, like I don’t participate in discussions in the classroom, I cannot express my views or opinions, I couldn’t express through words and I was worried that people would get mad at me for not talking . I tried to talk but I was just silent and there were no words coming out of my mouth, ”said Sean Emmanuel Tibe.

According to Professor Mardy Dizon, a clinical psychologist at the American University in Ras Al Khaimah, UAE, the cause is not yet completely clear to experts.

“Ang Selective Mutism ay itinuturing ng mga eksperto bilang takot sa pakikipag-usap sa piling mga tao. Hindi palaging malinaw ang sanhi ngunit may kinalaman ito sa pagkabagabag o yung tinatawag nating anxiety. Kadalasang nag-uumpisa ang Selective Mutism sa pagkabata mula dalawa hanggang apat na taong gulang. Malimit itong napapansin kapag nakikisalamuha na ang bata sa mga taong hindi nya kaanu-ano,” Dizon explained.

From seven to ten years old Sean does not speak in class, he still has to write down what he wants to say so that his teacher and classmates can understand him. He will only speak when he is home and talking to his family.

Because of the child’s condition, Sean’s mother, Irene, was worried.

Many questions went through her mind like will her child be able to work when she grows up? and if she can get married? Irene also admitted that she asked God what she should do in the child’s situation. Ano ba’ng kailangan kong gawin? Ano’ng kailangan kong gawin sa ‘yo para magsalita ka na”, asked Irene Tibe, Sean’s mother

"Umiiyak na sya sa ‘kin, sabi nya sa akin, just love me Mama, just love me. So parang yun na yung sagot ni Lord sa akin,” Irene's story.

Because of his condition, the whole family supported Sean to hone his talents such as playing piano, violin and guitar, drawing and painting, robotics as well as academics.

He also participated in various competitions and took home many awards especially in piano contests inside and outside the UAE, until his speaking resumed last year.

He said his speech suddenly returned while he was in an online meeting with his brother and their music teacher.

Today, he is also a full-fledged author of a book entitled, “The Boy Who Stopped Talking”Sean, where he recounts his experiences and how he overcame Selective Mutism.

"This book will help inspire you to trust God and never lose hope. People with difficulty in life, like cancer that couldn’t be treated, or someone who’s getting bullied at school or maybe someone with anxiety and depression, they will learn how to have faith in God and know God’s love, ” said Sean."

Sean and his family plan to use the proceeds from book sales on feeding and education programs.

Young Filipino who did not speak for three years wrote a book about Selective Mutism|ABS-CBN News

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