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Language disorders mutism akinetic mutism elective mutism selective mutism causes of mutism diagnosis of mutism mutism treatment

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.


More information on mutism

What is mutism? - Mutism is the inability or unwillingness to speak. Mutism is a rare childhood condition characterized by a consistent failure to speak in situations where talking is expected.
What's akinetic mutism? - Akinetic mutism is a variety of stupor in which the patient is unable to talk or carry out purposeful behaviour but may lie with eyes open.
What's elective mutism? - Elective mutism is a condition in which children do not speak because they do not want to. True elective mutism may be a reaction to a traumatic event.
What is 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.
What causes mutism? - Mutism is believed to be caused by anxiety experienced in social situations where the child may be called upon to speak.
How is mutism diagnosed? - The diagnosis of mutism is fairly easy to make because the signs amd symptoms are clear-cut and easily observable.
What's the treatment for mutism? - There are two recommended treatments for mutism: behavior modification therapy and antidepressant medication.
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