This week we welcome Chantell Marshall to the podcast, who some may know through the social media handle @shylittlepixie. Chantell is an autistic woman, who lives with selective mutism, severe social anxiety and c-PTSD. She spends most of her time at home with her plants and her foster kittens. Chantell shares her personal journey through autism and mental health openly on social media; Chantell says that she finds this rather bizarre because in person she often cannot speak two words to a new person.
So it is for this reason that we have run this week’s episode a little differently. Because of Chantell’s selective mutism she is not able to speak with us, but she shares her experiences and answers our questions through the written word. Chantell’s words will be read by an autistic voice actor, Allison Welch.
On this episode we cover Chantell’s path to understanding her own neurodivergence and what this meant for her, what is selective mutism, language considerations and why Chantell prefers the term ‘selective’ mutism over ‘situational’ mutism, and Chantell’s experience of living with selective mutism throughout her childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. We also chat about the overlap of autism and selective mutism, how the fight flight and freeze responses play into selective mutism, and how common it is for internalised stress to be mistaken and praised for ‘compliance’, particularly in girls and afab individuals. Finally, Chantell shares what has been helpful and not helpful for her over her lifetime, her top tips for others, and some of her special interests!
Chantell would like to add the following:
I would like to thank Allison for being so kind to offer to be my voice for this podcast. I am so genuinely grateful to you! I would also like to thank Michelle and Monique for being so incredibly understanding in regard to my difficulties with speaking, and for being so willing to provide accommodations to enable me to still be able to share my story here on their wonderful podcast. This is honestly all it takes! I hope others can learn from their foresight and be willing to make adjustments for other Autistic people when needed, too.
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