OREM, Utah (ABC 4 News) – Isaac Pratte is a happy, social boy in the safe haven of his house, but was known to become a virtual mute in public.
Isaac’s parents said he would shut down in public when he was in the presence of teachers or waiters at restaurants.
For years, the family did not understand what was causing his changes in behavior.
“Nobody knew the answers,” JoEll Pratte, Isaac’s mother, said. “We searched and searched.”
Isaac was ultimately diagnosed with Selective Mutism. According to doctors, it is a social anxiety disorder believed to be genetic. It affects children who are fully capable of speaking, but fail to talk in certain situations.
“They are completely normal around people they are comfortable with,” Doran Pratte, Isaac’s father, said. “That is why it is such a strange things to diagnose.”
Isaac’s parents worked with him to communicate with others. Small steps turned into big leaps.
“He gives speeches at church and answers at restaurants,” JoEll said.
The Pratte’s joined the “Utah Selective Mutism Support Group.” Eight other families in Utah are members.
“It is comforting to know that there are other parents out there and there are kids that feel the same way he does,” she added.