selective mutism presented by: veronica rodriguez-ureña

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Selective Mutism

Presented by: Veronica Rodriguez-Urea

What is Selective Mutism?According to the American Speech-Language Hearing Association Selective Mutism is a disorderthat usually occurs during childhood. It is when the childdoes not to speak in at least one social setting.However, the child can speak in other situations. Selective mutism typically occurs before a child is 5 years old and is usually first noticed when the childstarts school.


History of Selective MutismFormerly known as Elective Mutism, until 1994Was renamed due to the misconception that mute people choose to be silent.Truth is anxiety causes the failure to speak out loud.


Diagnostic Criteria for Selective MutismA child meets the criteria for Selective Mutism if the following are true:Does not speak in certain places, such as school or other social events.However child can speak normally in settings where the child is comfortable, such as at home.The child's inability to speak interferes with their ability to function in educational and/or social settings.Mutism has persisted for at least one month.Mutism is not caused by a communication disorder(such as stuttering), and does not occur as part of other mental disorders (such as autism).

Typical MisdiagnosesAutism:Because of the characteristics of extreme social withdrawal and impairment in communication. Aspergers:Because of the primary problems in social interaction. However, individuals suffering from SM are able to speak in environments where they are comfortable

IncidencesAccording to the Moore & Jefferson: Handbook of Medical Psychiatry

Selective Mutism is probably more common in girls than boys. It is an uncommon disorder, with a prevalence among early elementary school age children of from 0.06% to 0.7%.

Associated Behaviors No eye contactIs uneasy when confronted with general expectations in social situationsNo facial expressionImmobility

Positive AspectsPositive aspects many suffers may haveAbove average intelligence, perception, or are inquisitive Are empatheticAre able to maintain concentrationOften have a good sense of judgment

Negative aspects due to lack of verbal communicationNegative aspects may include Perceived rudenessLack of expressionMinimal eye contactDifficulty in expressing emotion

Drug Free TreatmentsDesensitization (older then 5yrs of age)Allows the subject to communicate via non direct means which may include e-mail, phone, tape recording, web chat, until they are both mentally and able to communicate more directly.Stimulus FadingThe technique that allows the subject in a controlled setting to communicate with a person whom they are comfortable with. Gradually a second person is then introduced into the group. These steps are done in stages and is called the sliding-in technique

Drug TreatmentsThere is a double sided view on Medication treatment. Some practioners believe antidepressants such as Fluoxetine may be effective with Selective Mutism, however there are activist and practioners who are against medication treatments

ConclusionSelective Mutism is often regarded in a child as being overly shy and can also be misinterpreted as the child choosing to be rude.While SM does not have a high incidence, it is often misdiagnosedEducating teachers on this disability can raise the awareness of the student who is not participating Encouraging rather then reprimanding a child with SM can allow the child to eventually lower their anxiety to speak in their setting

Works CitedVilla, Carol. (2009).What is Selective Mutism. Retrieved July 8, 2009, From Website: Helping Our Teachers Understand Selective Mutism. Retrieved on July 10, 2009, From Website: & Jefferson: Handbook of Medical Psychiatry 2nd ed. Chapter 29Selective Mutism (DSM-IV-TR#313.23).Retrieved on July 10, 2009, From Website: Sites geared at educating on Selective Mutismwww.selectivemutismfoundation.org Selective Mutism Retrieved 7/17/09 Mutism Retrieved 7/13/09