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Selective Mutism

What are the symptoms of selective mutism?

Signs of selective mutism include:

  • Consistent avoidance speaking in specific social situations (may be very talkative at home and refuse to talk to people at school, in friends’ homes and in public).
  • Educational achievement or other daily functions are affected by refusal to speak. An otherwise bright child may receive an F on a speaking assignment rather than speak in front of class. They know the material, yet they are too anxious to speak in front of a group. The fear of speaking overrides the desire to receive a good grade. They are usually very upset because they feel they can’t force themselves to speak. They feel frozen without control over their verbal communication.
  • Selective Mutism diagnosed for when a child refuses to speak one time, refusal to speak must occur over a period of at least one month.

A child with Selective Mutism may also display excessive shyness, clinging, temper tantrums, obsessive-compulsive behaviors, or an extreme fear of being embarrassed.

When is selective mutism diagnosed?

Selective mutism is often noticed when a child enters school, even though selective mutism symptoms are evident before the age of 5. A child with selective mutism refuses to speak in some social situations, but not others. For instance, a child may be described by their parents as funny and outgoing at home however, the teacher reports a significantly less verbal child at school. The teacher often reports that the child refuses to talk, is extremely quiet and they are concerned that the child may not know the answers to questions. A child with selective mutism may be incorrectly labeled as stubborn or strong-willed. Years ago, children with selective mutism were labeled as rude, due to their refusal to speak.

How Can Granite Bay Speech help?

Here at Granite Bay Speech, we are experts in identifying the symptoms of selective mutism and can help you determine the best course of treatment. We work as a team with your doctor and other professionals to develop an effective and evidenced-based treatment plan.

My family is extremely thrilled with Granite Bay Speech, in particular Kimberli Door, speech pathologist for my grandson, who has autism. Two years ago, he was shy and not very talkative. Under Kim's amazing tutelage, he has blossomed.

Sue M.

The team was kind, flexible and successful in treating multiple speech concerns. Lori was really good at incorporating games and fun activities with treatment to maintain engagement and encourage participation.

Joshua C.