Selective Mutism – What is it, Causes and Treatments!

Selective Mutism – What it is, Causes and Treatments  we should all know. Additionally,  Selective Mutism  is a severe anxiety disorder in which a person is unable to speak in certain social situations, such as with peers at school or to relatives who do not come very often.

It usually starts during childhood and, left untreated, can persist into adulthood. A child or adult with Selective Mutism does not refuse or choose not to speak, they are literally unable to speak.

The expectation of talking to certain people triggers a freezing response with feelings of panic such as a bad case of stage fright and conversation is impossible.
Over time, the person will learn to anticipate the situations that provoke this painful reaction and do everything they can to avoid it.

However, people with  Selective Mutism are able to speak freely to certain people, such as family and close friends, when no one is around to trigger the freezing response. So, check now  Selective Mutism – What it is, Causes and Treatments:

What Causes Selective Mutism:  Experts consider Selective Mutism to be a fear (phobia) of talking to certain people. The cause is not always clear, but it is known to be associated with anxiety . The child will usually have an inherited tendency to experience anxiety and have difficulty taking day-to-day events in their stride.
Read more about anxiety in children.

Many children are too distressed to speak when separated from their parents, and they transfer that anxiety onto the adults who try to install them. If they have speech and language problems or hearing problems, this can make speaking even more stressful. Some children have trouble processing sensory information, such as loud noises and jostling from crowds — a condition known as sensory integration dysfunction.

This can make them “turned off” and be unable to speak when overwhelmed in a busy environment. Again, your anxiety can transfer to other people in that environment. There is no supporting evidence that children with Selective Mutism are more likely to experience abuse, neglect or trauma than any other child.

Signs of Selective Mutism: Selective  Mutism usually begins in early childhood, between the ages of two and four. It is often first noticed when the child starts interacting with people outside their family, such as when they start living or school.

The main warning sign is the sharp contrast in the child’s ability to engage with different people, characterized by sudden silence and a frozen facial expression when expected to converse with someone outside their comfort zone. They may avoid eye contact and appear:

  • Nervous, uncomfortable or socially awkward.
  • Rude, disinterested or moody.
  • Sticky.
  • Shy and withdrawn.
  • Rigid, tense or poorly coordinated.

Stubborn or aggressive, angry when they come home from school, or get angry when questioned by parents more confident children with Selective Mutism may use gestures to communicate – for example, they may nod “yes” or shake their heads to “ no”. But the most severely affected children tend to avoid any form of communication – spoken, written or gestured.

Treating Selective Mutism: With  proper treatment, most children are able to overcome Selective Mutism . But the older they are when the condition is diagnosed, the longer it will take. The effectiveness of the treatment will depend on:

  • How long the person has had Selective Mutism .
  • Whether or not they have additional communication or learning difficulties or anxieties .
  • The cooperation of everyone involved with your education and family life.

Treatment for Selective Mutism  does not focus on the speech itself, but reduces the anxiety associated with speech. This starts by removing pressure on the person to speak. Then they should gradually progress from relaxing in their school, daycare or social setting, to saying unique words and phrases to one person, before eventually being able to speak freely to all people in all settings.

The need for individual treatment can be avoided if the family and staff in early years settings work together to reduce the child’s anxiety by creating a positive environment for them and assisting in the healing of Selective Mutism .

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *