Selective mutism occurs when a child or adolescent is unable to speak in certain social situations, but they can and do speak normally. Often times, the child shows symptoms of another anxiety disorder as well (for example, social anxiety disorder).
What are common symptoms of selective mutism? You may notice the following in your child:
- Failing to speak in specific social situations despite speaking in other situations
- Failing to speak interferes with school or social life
- Failing to speak is not due to a lack of knowledge with the spoken language
- Failing to speak is not due to another communication disorder (for example, stuttering)
What should you do if you suspect your child has selective mutism? Contact your pediatrician for a proper evaluation. If further assessment is needed, your pediatrician may recommend a comprehensive evaluation by a licensed behavioral health professional.