Selective Mutism is a childhood anxiety disorder characterized by a child’s failure to speak in specific social situations (such as school) despite speaking comfortably in other situations (such as the home). The child’s failure to speak is not due to a lack of knowledge of, or comfort with, the spoken language. Selective Mutism is identified in more girls than boys and is not as rare as once thought.
Recognizing Selective Mutism
Fortunately, there is help for children with Selective Mutism. Effective treatment involves behavioral therapy with controlled exposure. Emphasis is placed on experiencing successes and exposure occurs gradually, often beginning with non-verbal communication.