Question: How Do You Help Someone With Selective Mutism?

Can a person grow out of selective mutism?

Many people think that kids will outgrow selective mutism with time, but this is usually not true.

If left untreated, children with selective mutism may endure years of suffering and miss out on age appropriate activities..

What causes selective mutism?

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.

Is selective mutism a mental disorder?

Selective mutism is a severe anxiety disorder where a person is unable to speak in certain social situations, such as with classmates at school or to relatives they do not see very often. It usually starts during childhood and, if left untreated, can persist into adulthood.

Is selective mutism on the autism spectrum?

Selective Mutism is a Social Anxiety Disorder most commonly found in children and often mistaken and misdiagnosed as Autism. On the surface some of the characteristics may appear to mimic Autistic behaviors.

What selective mutism feels like?

Appearance: Many children with Selective Mutism have a frozen-looking, blank, expressionless face and stiff, awkward body language with lack of eye contact when feeling anxious. This is especially true for younger children in the beginning of the school year or then suddenly approached by an unfamiliar person.

Does selective mutism run in families?

The cause of selective mutism is not known. It tends to run in families. A child is more likely to have this disorder if other family members have had problems with selective mutism, social anxiety, or other anxiety disorders. It is not caused by abuse or trauma.

At what age is selective mutism diagnosis?

Symptoms of selective mutism usually become noticeable between the ages of two and four years. However, the diagnosis may not be apparent until the child has entered school or other social situations. Functioning in school and social situations may be impaired.

Is there a way to cure muteness?

The good news is that selective mutism is very treatable with the right care. Kids with SM respond best to behavioral therapy that is focused on helping them learn to speak in new settings, during new activities and with new people.

How long does selective mutism last?

Symptoms of selective mutism Lasts at least one month – not limited to the first month of school. Failure to speak is not due to lack of knowledge about or comfort with the spoken language.

How do you talk to someone with selective mutism?

DOs & DON’Ts for Interacting with Those with Selective MutismAllow for warm-up time.Monitor the child’s body language.Talk “around” the child at first with focus on parents or siblings.Get down on the child’s level and focus on a prop.Ask choice and direct questions to the child with focus on the prop.Allow for hesitation.Re-ask questions if needed.More items…•

How is selective mutism diagnosed?

Testing for Selective Mutism Talk to your doctor if you have concerns about how and when your child talks. Your child should also see a psychologist or psychiatrist to see if he has a problem like anxiety. A speech-language pathologist, or SLP, can test your child’s speech and language.

Can selective mutism cause depression?

In the early teenage years, selective mutism is very often compounded by social anxiety disorder. By young adulthood, or earlier, many people with selective mutism will also experience depression and other anxiety disorders, including agoraphobia.