What are the symptoms of selective mutism?

Signs of selective mutism include:

  • Consistent failure to speak in specific social situations
  • Educational achievement or other daily functions are affected by refusal to speak. An otherwise bright child may receive an F on a speaking assignment rather than speak in front of class. They know the material, yet they are too anxious to speak in front of a group. The fear of speaking overrides the desire to receive a good grade. They are usually very upset because they feel they can’t force themselves to speak.
  • Selective Mutism is not the result of refusing to speak one time-it must occur over a period of at least one month.

A child with Selective Mutism may also display excessive shyness, clinging, temper tantrums, obsessive compulsive behaviors, or an extreme fear of embarrassment.

When is selective mutism diagnosed?

Selective mutism is often noticed when a child enters school; it is present before the age of 5. A child with selective mutism refuses to speak in some social situations, but not others. For instance, a child may be described by their parents as funny and outgoing at home but the teacher sees a different child at school. The teacher often reports that the child refuses to talk, is extremely quiet and they concerned that they may not know the answer to questions. A child with selective mutism may be incorrectly labeled as stubborn or strong-willed. Years ago children with selective mutism may have been called rude due to their refusal to speak.
How Can Granite Bay Speech help?

Here at Granite Bay Speech, we are experts in identifying the symptoms of selective mutism and can help you determine the best course of treatment. We work as a team with your doctor and other professionals to develop an effective and evidenced based treatment plan.