Selective Mutism

Selective Mutism

ChildSelective Mutism (SM) is characterized by a persistent failure to speak in one or more social situations for at least 1 month. Children usually develop SM before the age of 5, however it may not be diagnosed until school age when the disturbance becomes more noticeable and interfering. Children with selective mutism are usually able to speak comfortably at home and with their immediate family. But in less familiar settings or when with unfamiliar people, children may refuse to speak or feel unable to speak.

Children with SM may also be excessively slow, show significant social anxiety or fear of embarrassment, and may at times prefer to be isolated and withdrawn.

Balancing stones with clipping pathWhen communicating with others, does your child do any of the following instead of verbally speaking when around less familiar people?:

  • Gesturing
  • Nodding or shaking their head
  • Pulling or pushing
  • Using only short (and often inaudible) phrases
  • Whispering

If so, we can help!

Selective mutism can be associated with considerable life impairment, reduced quality of life, and interference with family, school, and peer functioning. If you think your child may suffer from selective mutism, please call us at 305-348-7836, or email us at