In the course of my experience evaluating and treating children with Selective Mutism, both in research and clinical practice, the following concepts have evolved in my thinking as the answers to questions that I have often been asked, both by the families of my patients and by professionals. In talking to parents and teachers, as well as in assessments of children, I have found that misconceptions are widespread about what Selective Mutism is and how children develop this problem. These misconceptions are prevalent even in professional educators, physicians, and mental health providers. I believe they reflect both confusion in the professional community and a general misunderstanding of the problem in our culture. Fortunately, modern child psychiatry is moving away from such outmoded theories. Most of the reports about Selective Mutism published in the past decade recognize the disorder as stemming from severe social anxiety and excessive inhibition, not from bad parenting.
Selective mutism is a rare and multidimensional childhood disorder that typically affects children entering school age. It is characterized by the persistent failure to speak in select social settings despite possessing the ability to speak and speak comfortably in more familiar settings. Many theories attempt to explain the etiology of selective mutism.
Selective mutism (SM) is a disorder characterized by a consistent failure to speak in specific settings (e.g. behavior, is thus significant. The largest study to date on children with SM (n=) found that social When someone does not speak.
Yet most of them time, they feel completely unable to speak. For instance, someone with selective mutism might talk perfectly normally when home alone with their parents or other close family, but find themselves totally incapable of speech in public or at school or work. Psychologists have struggled to explain selective mutism — some have suggested it is an extreme manifestation of social anxiety; others point to links with autism.
Helping to fill that gap, a new study presents the experience of five people with the condition, in their own words. Analysing the interview transcripts, Walker and his colleague Jane Tobbell identified several key themes, some of which challenge the idea that people with mutism are choosing to stay silent. Hannah, aged 26, was diagnosed at age 17 and has since then only been able to speak verbally with her parents.
She described this sense of dissociation:. The participants also described how their silence became self-fulfilling as others came to expect them to be voiceless. Sam, 21, has had selective mutism since the age of 8 and is only able to speak to his parents and close friends who he knew before that age. He put it like this:. Even the teachers would treat me differently.
Harold Koplewicz asks Dr. Steven Kurtz common questions about selective mutism. For more information about Child Mind Institute, visit their website. Selective Mutism rates are growing; currently we estimate that 1 out of every children meet diagnostic criteria for selective mutism.
Selective mutism is a rare condition when a child can’t speak in certain Involve the child in a relaxed situation with someone he or she can talk to If you have a follow-up appointment, write down the date, time, and purpose for that visit.
The statement was made to me in a casual manner. It was quite disconcerting to learn that a child had attended our school for one full year of kindergarten and no one, except the kindergarten teacher, knew of his disability. Not one of the teaching or specialist staff had been notified. Nicholas, as I later found out, had not spoken in preschool for two years prior to his start of kindergarten in the public school system.
His kindergarten teacher had been advised by the public school psychologist and speech teacher to treat him as any other child and wait to see what would happen. During his kindergarten year, Nicholas displayed all the characteristics of any six year old child: happy, eager to learn, participating in all activities, as long as he could be silent. He had not spoken in school for three years by the end of kindergarten.
He would not use the school toilet. He would not even laugh out loud. It is a complex psychological disorder with an unknown origin.
Guys, would you date a girl with selective mutism?
Table of Contents :. Lindsay Scharfstein, Ph. Victoria Bacon, M. Carla E. Marin, Ph.
Steven Kurtz of the Child Mind Institute discuss selective mutism, from how the anxiety disorder impacts young lives to the most effective treatments. Date: August 8.
Selective mutism is a condition in which a child can speak, but then suddenly stops speaking. It most often takes place in school or social settings. Selective mutism is most common in children under age 5. The cause, or causes, are unknown. Most experts believe that children with the condition inherit a tendency to be anxious and inhibited.
Most children with selective mutism have some form of extreme social fear phobia. Parents often think that the child is choosing not to speak. However in most cases, the child is truly unable to speak in certain settings. Some affected children have a family history of selective mutism, extreme shyness, or anxiety disorders, which may increase their risk for similar problems. This syndrome is not the same as mutism.
In selective mutism, the child can understand and speak, but is unable to speak in certain settings or environments. Children with mutism never speak. This pattern must be seen for at least 1 month to be selective mutism.
What Is Selective Mutism?
Selective mutism SM is a childhood anxiety disorder characterized by an inability to speak or communicate in certain settings. The condition is usually first diagnosed in childhood. Children who are selectively mute fail to speak in specific social situations, such as at school or in the community. The first described cases date back to when German physician Adolph Kussmaul labeled children who did not speak as having “aphasia voluntaria.
Selective mutism (SM) is a rare and severe social communication 7 Dr. Shipon-Blum gives an example of having a play-date over and doing a With SM, the goal is first to practice looking toward someone, rather than.
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The experiences of adults with “selective mutism”, in their own words
Clarissa J. Gosney, Psy. Many teens and adults with Selective Mutism struggle with social isolation because of their anxiety.
This child’s behavior has a title: Selective Mutism. Someone had to begin to take responsibility for providing Nicholas with the type of school setting he Date notations were made on the goal sheet each time that Nicholas completed a goal.
These children are able to speak and communicate in settings where they are comfortable, secure, and relaxed. This is very brief description; below are some frequently asked questions FAQ about Selective Mutism. Feel free to check them out. All rights reserved. Children with Selective Mutism often have severely inhibited temperaments. Studies show that individuals with inhibited temperaments are more prone to anxiety than those without shy temperaments.
Most, if not all, of the distinctive behavioral characteristics that children with Selective Mutism portray can be explained by the studied hypothesis that children with inhibited temperaments have a decreased threshold of excitability in the almond-shaped area of the brain called the amygdala. When confronted with a fearful scenario, the amygdala receives signals of potential danger from the sympathetic nervous system and begins to set off a series of reactions that will help individuals protect themselves.
In the case of children with Selective Mutism, the fearful scenarios are social settings such as birthday parties, school, family gatherings, routine errands, etc.
For example, a child may not be able to speak at school, but can speak with no problem at home. It is called selective mutism because the child is only mute in select situations. It can cause problems with school and social situations. A child with selective mutism may find certain social situations very stressful. This may cause anxiety so severe that the child feels unable to speak.
Today, Erin Grufydd seems to be a teenager like any other. The happy year-old girl loves dancing and dreams of being a ballet teacher one.
But not in this classroom. A dozen young children sit in a circle, dressed for pajama day. Some clutch their knees or a stuffed animal. A boy in Spiderman sleepwear looks worried but eager as he musters the courage to speak aloud. All the children, ages 6 to 10, know the answer. It has been months, sometimes years, since these children have talked to anyone apart from family. The children have selective mutism , an anxiety disorder, and they are terrified of talking in social situations.
They may be chatterboxes at home, but at school or around unfamiliar faces, they are stone-faced and silent. Experts estimate that roughly one in children are selectively mute; most elementary schools have at least one student with the condition. Selective mutism can impede academic achievement and socialization, and lead to isolation and withdrawal from rituals like birthday parties and playground friendships. The problem usually begins before age 5, and early intervention can help.
But now researchers are taking a different tack: intensive, weeklong immersion programs, like this one run by Florida International University, in which selectively mute children are put through a variety of exercises to practice what frightens them most.
A few of the links in ‘cultural references’ and the ‘list of well-known people’ are referencing cases of hysterical mutism sudden onset of mutism, often because of trauma. These are misleading and they conflict with some of the other parts of the article. Something needs to be done here. The cultural references section is driving me crazy. We need to make some decision about what is acceptable.
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I have a 5-yr-old girl that we suspect she has SM. She might, occasionally, give one-word answer in a very soft whisper voice. There are a couple of girls at her age that she knew since babyhood. She does not talk or play with them either, not even in our own home! When they come to visit, she just clings to me and let them take over her toys.
She does not seek for help at school she rather not drink her favorite drink than ask someone to open it and does not speak up when she is being hit by other kids. She speaks to me and asks me a lot of questions at home. She argues and reasons with me quite often. We tried play therapy for over 6 months to no avail.