Information taken from ASHA and www.selectivemutismcenter.org
WHAT IS SELECTIVE MUTISM?
A child who has selective mutism will not speak in certain situations or locations. For example, a child may have no problem speaking at home but does not speak at school. Selective mutism typically occurs before a child is 5.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF SELECTIVE MUTISM?
- Failure to speak in specific situations despite speaking in other situations
- Lasts at least 1 month
- Failure to speak is not due to lack of knowledge about language
- Not speaking impacts work, school, or other social situations
It should be noted that selective mutism is not due to a communication disorder (i.e., stuttering).
WHAT CAUSES SELECTIVE MUTISM?
A child with selective mutism may have an anxiety disorder, inner self-esteem issues, or a speech, language, or hearing problem.
HOW CAN I HELP MY CHILD AT HOME?
Pressure and expectations for your child to speak should be removed. Try to encourage communication and lessen anxiety about speaking. Praise your child’s efforts and accomplishments and acknowledge difficulties and frustrations.
OUR APPROACH AT KEY THERAPIES:
We will develop an individualized treatment plan for each child based off of his / her current needs. A combination of strategies, including stimulus fading, shaping, and self-modeling may be utilized. We may also see a need to work with your child in the classroom if this is where the selective mutism is occurring.