Selective Mutism and Other Anxiety Disorders

Selective Mutism and Other Anxiety Disorders

Selective Mutism

Allison Salk, Natalie El Alam, and Suzi Naguib are Psy.D.

At home, she is a happy toddler. She is a chatterbox with her family. She is not comfortable speaking to people outside of our immediate family when we leave the house. I thought that she was shy and nervous. After two months of preschool, her teacher has contacted me to express concern that she doesn’t speak at school. I know that not all children make friends quickly, but when should I be concerned?

What is Selective Mutism?

It is rare that a condition called Selective Mutants affects less than one percent of children. It is a failure to speak in certain situations. The symptoms last for a month or more, not just the first month of school. SM usually begins between the ages of three-five years and is diagnosed after entering school. SM may be more common in females than in males, similar to other anxiety disorders. SM children may have symptoms including excessive shyness, fear of social embarrassment, social isolation and withdrawal, clinging, compulsive traits, temper tantrums, or mild oppositional behavior. SM is not a language or communication problem, and children with SM are usually competent in other environments where language is used. There may be significant impairment in academic and social areas of functioning because of SM.

Treatment Options

Children with Selective Mutism can go undetected for months or even years after symptoms first arise because adults think that children will outgrow their symptoms with continued social exposure, maturity and age 6. The course of SM is variable and depends on the child and the treatment plan the child is exposed to. Many SM patients exhibit deficits of communication and social withdrawal into their teenage and adult years, despite the fact that most patients achieve complete remission. It is important to diagnose and treat children with SM in order to increase the chance of remission and reduce future risks.

There are many treatment options for children with Selective Mutants. Behavioral treatment programs are the most effective of the psychological interventions, and often incorporate multiple approaches tms therapy that can be tailored to the individual child’s needs. A child starts a relaxed conversation and then new people are introduced into the room in a way called “stimulus fading”. The child’s efforts to communicate until audible speech is achieved is reinforced by the approach of shaping. A child is exposed to anxiety-provoking speaking scenarios while systematic desensitization uses relaxation strategies.

Sunfield Center psychologists can help identify and treat anxiety disorders using evidence based treatment protocols. To schedule an appointment, please call us. Please visit our website to learn more about Sunfield Center and our Anxiety Disorders Service.


1. Dombrowski, Gischlar, and Mrazik were all part of the study. There is a sort of Selective Mutim. In assessing and treating low incidence/high severity psychological disorders of children. New York: Springer.

2. The American Psychiatric Association is a group of psychiatrists. There are1-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-6556 Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. American Psychiatric Publishing is located in Arlington, VA.

3. Spencer, Hung, and Dronamraju were involved in the project. Children are exposed to practice and intervention strategies. The Children & Schools, 34(4), 222-230, is available on the internet.

There are 4. L. Sharkey and McNicholas. F., Barry, E., Begley, M., and Ahern, S. Group therapy for parents and children. The Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiarty was published in 2007.

5. Standart and Le Couteur wrote about their experiences. A literature review of the quiet child. The Child and Adolescent Mental Health, 8(4) is available on the internet.

6. R. Perednik, M. F. Shaughnessy, and others are involved in the project. An interview with Ruth Perednik. The North American Journal of Psychology is a journal.

7. The three of them were Haight, Kearney and Day. There is a sort of Selective Mutim. The Handbook of child and adolescent anxiety disorders was written by D. McKay and E. Storch. New York: Springer.

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