What is Selective Mutism?
Selective Mutism is a condition in which a child or adolescent is unable to speak or communicate effectively in certain social situations, settings, or with certain people even though they have the ability to speak and communicate normally in other situations. Children with Selective Mutism typically have challenges speaking in school, public places, or in front of strangers, but they can speak comfortably at home or with familiar people.
Keep in mind that Selective Mutism is not the result of shyness, a lack of motivation, or willful manipulation, but rather an anxiety disorder that affects the child's ability to speak in specific situations and over a long period of time. Children with Selective Mutism may also have other anxiety disorders such as social anxiety disorder, and may also have difficulty with nonverbal communication such as eye contact, body language or gestures.
Treatment for Selective Mutism typically involves a combination of therapy and parent training to support the child. The goal of therapy is to help the child develop the ability to speak and communicate in all situations, as well as reduce their anxiety in those situations.
It is important for parents to understand that Selective Mutism is a treatable condition, and with the help of a trained therapist, their child can learn to communicate more effectively in all situations. It is also important for parents to be patient, as progress can be slow, but with consistent therapy and support, children with Selective Mutism can make significant improvements in their communication skills.
What Treatment Looks Like
I have received specialized training to help your child with selective mutism. I use a combination of what I know with my background in speech therapy, parent child interaction therapy for children for selective mutism (PCIT-SM), and exposure therapy to help your child gain confidence and practice communicating. By providing in-home therapy, I am able to effectively and strategically work with your child to feel comfortable talking to me (a new adult) and eventually in varying environments at school, in the child's community, and in group sessions with other peers. I will provide you with parent training and coaching to help with generalization of skills.
If you suspect your child has selective mutism, don't hesitate to give me a call.
I would love to help!