World of Dance premiered Tuesday night, and while viewers got a lot of what they expected (i.e., really great dance routines), they also got something totally unexpected, too.
The Crazy 8’s, a group of eight young girls, took to the stage to perform an incredible choreographed dance routine to Birdy’s “Keeping Your Head Up.” And while their moves were impressive enough, the reason behind the dance was even more inspirational.
Once the dance ended, Jennifer Lopez, a judge on World of Dance, was clearly floored. “I want to know everything about you,” J.Lo said. “What’s going on in your little heads and your little hearts and your little bodies?” J.Lo also asked the girls what their dance routine was about.
“So this piece was inspired by our friend Naia, right here,” said one of the girls, motioning to Naia, next to her. “She has something that’s called ‘selective mutism’ which means that she’s not very comfortable talking with other people, and we just want her to know how much we love and care for her.” (Is that not the cutest thing ever??)
J.Lo was clearly in disbelief: “Wait a minute! Were you not just on your belly spinning with your head above your leg? Wasn’t that you?” she asked Naia. (Hint: It was.) The judged soon realized that, while Naia may have trouble expressing herself verbally, she has no problem doing so on the dance floor.
Can you tell me a bit more about selective mutism?
So, Naia’s friend was right: Selective mutism is a condition in which a child can speak but suddenly tops speaking, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM). The selective mutism often takes place in school or social settings, and is most common in children under five years old. While many think the child is choosing not to speak, in most cases, the child is truly unable to speak in certain settings, per the NLM.
Also, according to to the Selective Mutism Center, more than 90% of children with the condition also have social phobia or social anxiety. Most children with the condition have a genetic predisposition to anxiety, and may show symptoms of anxiety including frequent tantrums and crying, moodiness, extreme shyness, and sleep problems.
It should also be noted that selective mutism is different from mutism because, with the former, the child has the ability to speak and will do so in certain settings, while children with mutism cannot speak at all, per the NLM.
IDK about you, but I will definitely be rooting for Naia and the entire Crazy 8’s group in the next episode.
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