Speech Therapy

Communication Disability in Selective Mutism

Selective Mutism occurs in childhood. It is a severe Anxiety Disorder . A child suffering from Selective Mutism is capable of speaking normally, but fails to speak in given situations or in presence of specific people around. This type of disorder is psychological in nature. Children and adults are sound at their behavior and normal at their learning activities. But do not meet expectations at specific needs.

The following symptoms are common with Selective Mutism patients:

  • Repetitive and constant failure to speak at any specific situations (like: speaking at school, speaking at any other’s house etc.) where as speaking normally at home or other situations.
  • Constant interference with academics.
  • Disturbances continue to last for longer time. </li
  • Failure to speak is not due to any speech disability or language problem. It may be due to comfort level at specific instances.

What Causes Selective Mutism:
When these children are put into situations where they feel extremely uncomfortable, their level of anxiety grows a lot. They might be willing to speak, they even might be well versed to speak; but their anxiety levels makes them mute and compels to remains silent. They just cannot voice out any sound.

Examples of Selective Mutsim In Children:
Few children are extremely active at home or when they are with their family, but appear dumb outside or when their family is not present. Some children are quite social at school and enjoy with peers, but remain silent at home. Majority of SM children feel comfortable with their peers and cannot talk with adults. Others speak only when short lines are required to be spoken, they get anxious on speaking bigger lines and cannot speak when more talking is involved. Severe cases show that children neither speak to anyone nor participate in any activity. This is called ‘Progressive Mutism’.

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