One thing that I have always feared is what do I do if Josiah ever got lost. Most children can ask for help, can say their name, their phone number who their Mum or Dad is. But a child with Selective Mutism is limited to respond in any way.
Before he went missing, we knew that he was already struggling. Our son who normally could talk to us had reacted to the pressure of Perth the crowds shopping and the loud noise, and was now not able to talk to us normally, he could barely answer questions. Even when he did he nodded by lowering his head in a way that he only did at school. So we had announced that we were going home and he knew we were on our way to the car park.
One second he was with us and we stopped to look at something, when he kept walking. It only took a minute for us to realize that he was gone. We waited literally two minutes to look around and see if he was anywhere. I then called Westfield Security who were good. I gave them information about what he was wearing his name, and also the fact that he could not speak and would most likely react badly to them helping him.
After this I was about to walk to the concierge desk, when I head my son he was screaming and I could tell he was coming towards me. I waited anxiously and finally I caught a glimpse of him and I knelt down and waited for him to get to me. The security guy bless him he was dark skinned and had Afro hair which would have been unfamiliar for Josiah and I knew he was a little scared of them normally. The staff at Westfield said that a lady had brought him to the concierge desk. They tried to get him to come with them. But he ran away from them in fear. They told me that they tried to tell him that they were trying to help him find his Mum. No help.
So now what can I do for the next time this (which I hope) never does can I do. Firstly I know that he knew who Police were and had recently had a discussion with him that they are safe and to go to them if he feels scared or loses us. To stand next to them and wait for them to help him. But I had never told him about security people so next time I will make a point of showing him who they are when we are at shopping centres. Also next on the list is possible finding a bracelet he can wear to show his name that he has Selective Mutism and my phone number. I will post later if I find appropriate ones that can be ordered from Australia.