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Selective Mutism Symptoms

(Also Known As: Selective Mute Symptoms, Mutism Symptoms, Elective Mutism Symptoms)

(Reviewed by: Paul Peterson, Licensed Therapist)

What are the symptoms of Selective Mutism?

Selective mutism is usually characterized by the following:

  • A constant refusal to speak in one or more social settings, which includes school, despite speaking in other situations.
  • The behavior interferes with educational, occupational achievement, and social communication.
  • The duration of the behavior is at least one month, excluding the first month of school.
  • The failure to speak is not due to a lack of knowledge of, or comfort with, the spoken language required in a social situation.
  • The speech deficiency is not a result of a communication disorder (e.g., stuttering) and does not occur exclusively during the course of a pervasive developmental disorder.
  • The main feature in selective mutism is that the child has the ability to both comprehend and speak, but fails to do so in certain situations. This syndrome differs from mutism because the child sometimes speaks, depending on the circumstances. Children with mutism never speak.
  • Cultural issues, such as recent immigration and bilingual speakers, should be considered during the evaluation process.
  • Children who are uncomfortable with a new language may be reluctant to use it outside of a familiar setting. This is not necessarily selective mutism, so it should be noted when searching for a diagnosis. 10

Could You Have Selective Mutism?

Selective Mutism Topics

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