A schoolgirl who spent seven years suffering in silence unable to speak to anyone but her dad has been “cured” thanks to a “miracle” holiday.
Little Katie Wallace has for the first time been able to speak to her sister and school friends — and she owes it to a trip abroad.
The eight-year-old’s crippling anxiety and selective mutism meant she would clam up around others, but she has always been able to speak to her dad.
However, a once in a lifetime charity trip to Tenerife in May this year left Katie so excited and carefree she was soon chatting and getting involved with others.
Katie and her dad Fin went on the incredible holiday thanks to money raised by local Lancashire charity, Days of Sunshine.
The charity takes local children away throughout the year and believed Katie — who had never been out of the country before — would really benefit from a fun trip in the sunshine.
Speaking of Katie’s incredible progress single dad Fin, 52, said: “She’s a different child, I can’t believe it.
“When I say she was silent, she was completely mute for seven years.
“I can’t believe how much of a difference the holiday has made. I can’t pinpoint exactly what made the difference I think it was a mixture of everything.
“A new place, amazing activities and new friends that she felt comfortable with, I don’t even think she realised she’d started to interact. “She was just too excited and loving life, it was incredible to see.
“It’s quite a journey we have been on and it feels like this has been a miracle holiday.”
Katie was diagnosed with selective mutism — a severe anxiety disorder – when she was just four years old leaving her unable to speak to anyone except her dad.
Miraculously she is now able to speak to her teacher, albeit not in front of the class, and she is able to chat with school pals and her big sister Emma Wallace, 28.
Fin, from St Annes, Lancs., believes a lot of Katie’s anxieties are down to her early childhood before he took over her full-time care when she was two.
He said: “She’s already been through so much, she’s such a delicate little thing and I just want the best for her.
“I can’t begin to tell you how awful it was, she would suffer in silence if I wasn’t around not telling anyone if she felt poorly or was in pain.
“She didn’t show expressions either, a clown could run into the classroom and she would not flinch.”
Finn was starting to feel helpless and was worried Katie would continue to suffer from her selective muteness for the rest of her life.
He said: “No one knew how to help, the school did their best but all you know is what you read on the internet. “She had a speech therapist but I didn’t think that would help as her speech itself is fine, she is very articulate when she talks to me.” — Daily Mail