A young girl from Essex has told of her heartbreaking struggle with selective mutism which means she is only capable of talking to three people in the world.

Daisy-Mae Mead, 12, lives with her mum Louise and is diagnosed with autism and selective mutism.

Her condition means she is unable to speak to almost anyone except for her mum, dad and her psycholgist.

Selective mutism is described by the NHS as an anxiety disorder which leaves that person literally unable to speak – they don't choose not to.

The expectation to speak can also trigger a freeze response with feelings of panic.

Despite Daisy-Mae's struggles to make friends, she successfully ran her own charity talent show and even gave a speech at its opening in Loughton.

In an email, Daisy-Mae wrote: “People need to know I can't help how I am and I find it really hard to explain.

“It’s not easy to explain that you can't talk - everyone talks. If you can't talk, it's so hard as you have all the answers in your head but you can't say them there and then.

"Sometimes I feel like I am in a different world and it's all going on around me and I don't know how that makes me feel.

"I say I don't want friends but I'm not sure as I watch them with each other and wonder."

Daisy-Mae cannot find the words she needs and when outside the comfort of her home she gets scared and freezes.

She can only speak to her mum, her dad and her psychologist.

While she is now home-schooled by her mum, when she did go to school she was bullied and found it fuelled her anxiety.

Since being home-schooled, Daisy-Mae has been able to find things she enjoys.

She explained: "My favourite things to do are performing, dancing and singing in pantomimes and impersonating people I have met.

Chelmsford Weekly News: Daisy-Mae Mead, 12, lives with her mum Louise and is diagnosed with autism and selective mutismDaisy-Mae Mead, 12, lives with her mum Louise and is diagnosed with autism and selective mutism (Image: SWNS)

"Most of all, I like organising events and getting through all the challenges to get things going and making it successful.

"When people enjoy themselves, that's when I smile the most."

Daisy-Mae held her own charity talent show on March 2 called Uniquely Me and managed to make a short speech.

The inclusive talent show raised £305 for The UK selective mutism charity named SMiRA (Selective Mutism Information & Research Association).

Daisy wrote: "I came up with the idea of a talent show two years ago and I dreamed of doing it all myself.

"We found Epping Hall and when I visited, it was absolutely perfect, exactly as I had dreamed.

"I was so excited and I got to work on designing the show straight away.

"It was really important to me that it was an inclusive talent show and I wanted the children who were in it to feel welcome even if they hadn't performed before."

Daisy-Mae said it was initially difficult to get people interested in the show but she didn't give up and kept advertising for it with leaflets she made herself.

She explained: "In the end, I had 14 acts take part - it was amazing and lots of tickets sold. "I borrowed a red carpet from the drama centre in Loughton where I help them with sewing.

"I also asked all the entrants to send videos of themselves talking about their talent that I could play on screen.

"I said I didn't mind if they wanted to record their talent if they were too nervous but in the end they all came in real life and performed on stage."

Chelmsford Weekly News: Daisy-Mae Mead, 12, has spoken on email about her strugglesDaisy-Mae Mead, 12, has spoken on email about her struggles (Image: SWNS)

Daisy-Mae also triumphantly gave a short speech after weeks of practice to the hall filled with people.

She said: "I made a speech with the help of my psychologist and I was not sure I would be able to do it but once I got on stage as always it all came together.

"My psychologist made a speech and I put phrases about selective mutism on screen.

"It made me feel like I could do bigger and better things and nothing is impossible."

Daisy-Mae's mum is Louise Mead, 50, a qualified social worker who gave up her career in 2020 to support Daisy-Mae with her education at home.

Louise, now a district councillor, said Daisy-Mae was a difficult and clingy baby especially as a single parent.

Louise said she first realised things were difficult for Daisy-Mae when she took her to playgrounds and she wouldn’t do anything with her mum.

She initially thought she was just a shy child and put her in a small private girl’s school as she thought it was the best place for her.

Despite there only being ten girls in Daisy-Mae's year, she struggled immensely.

During lockdown, Louise saw a Facebook post that mentioned selective mutism and realised it sounded exactly like Daisy-Mae, branding it a “lightbulb moment”.

Daisy-Mae was diagnosed Autistic in 2022 through a private diagnosis as Louise said the waiting time for a diagnosis was three years long through the NHS.

However, Louise was still battling to get a diagnosis for selective mutism, feeling it was being “brushed aside”.

She explained: “In our experience it is the selective mutism that is the most debilitating.

“Children with selective mutism cannot have a conversation, chat, or make their needs known all of the time."

Despite the progress Daisy-Mae is making, Louise said she worries about her future due to her selective mutism.

She explained: "I worry about the future all the time, it's always there in the back of my mind, what the future holds for Daisy.

"What if I died tomorrow, how would she survive? My life with Daisy is 24/7.

"There is not a moment I have without the worry of how she is coping when I am not with her.

"Her face is blank, she cannot talk or gesture.

"Heaven knows what would happen in an emergency or if she was on her own and lost her way she would just crumble in a heap.

"Yet, I know she is strong willed and has amazing intellect - she is thoughtful and loving and giving, but nobody sees any of this."