What's selective mutism?Selective mutism is a condition in which a child who is fluent with language frequently fails to speak in certain situations where language is expected. Selective Mutism is a rare psychiatric condition primarily occuring during childhood. It is characterized by the refusal to speak in social situations. Ability to understand spoken language and to speak is usually not impaired. Symptoms include excessive shyness, anxiety, depression, and controlling manipulative behavior.
It typically occurs in school or social settings. This pattern of mutism must be observed for at least one month (but the first month of school does not count, as excessive shyness is common during this period).Selective mutism is not a communications disorder and is not part of a developmental disorder. Therefore by definition, the disorder does not include children with conduct disorders, oppositional defiant behavior, and/or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Parents often think that the child is refusing to speak, but usually the child is truly unable to speak in particular settings.