How Do You Help Someone With Selective Mutism?

Is selective mutism a mental illness?

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..

Do speech therapists treat selective mutism?

Treatment for Selective Mutism. Each person with selective mutism needs to work on different skills. Your doctor may suggest medication, which works for some people. SLPs will work to get your child comfortable talking in all situations.

How do you talk to a child with selective mutism?

When interacting with a child with Selective Mutism, DO:Allow 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.More items…•

Is selective mutism a neurological disorder?

The neurological basis for selective mutism is thought to be a cascade of events in an area of the brain known as the amygdala, which receives danger signals from the environment. The anxiety from a situation perceived as dangerous to the child’s well-being causes a communication shutdown.

Why is selective mutism called?

In 1877, German physician Adolph Kussmaul described children who were able to speak normally but often refused to as having a disorder he named aphasia voluntaria. Although this is now an obsolete term, it was part of an early effort to describe the concept now called selective mutism.

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.

Can selective mutism go away?

Selective mutism typically does not go away on its own, and in fact can lead to worsened anxiety and social difficulty if not addressed.

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.

Can PTSD cause selective mutism?

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with dissociative features has also been associated as a potential precursor of selective mutism. Although it is an uncommon explanation for selective mutism, several cases of children who experienced severe abuse and trauma fit the classification of selective mutism.

How do you overcome selective mutism?

Treatment for selective mutismCognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) Among the most effective methods of treating symptoms of selective mutism is CBT. … Desensitisation. … Shaping. … Positive and negative reinforcement. … Family therapy. … Medication for selective mutism.

What triggers 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.

How can schools support selective mutism?

Teachers can help students with selective mutism by:developing warm, supportive relationships, even if the interactions are nonverbal.easing anxiety in the classroom by pairing them up with a buddy.using small-group instruction and activities.More items…

Is selective mutism caused by trauma?

Studies have shown no evidence that the cause of Selective Mutism is related to abuse, neglect or trauma. What is the difference between Selective Mutism and traumatic mutism? Children who suffer from Selective Mutism speak in at least one setting and are rarely mute in all settings.

Is selective mutism a choice?

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.

Is selective mutism a disability?

One disability not only hidden but most frequently overlooked is Selective Mutism. According to the SMart Center: “Selective Mutism is a complex childhood anxiety disorder characterized by a child’s inability to speak and communicate effectively in select social settings, such as school.

Is there medication for selective mutism?

Despite limited evidence, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) are used to reduce symptoms of selective mutism (SM) in children unresponsive to psychosocial interventions.