Quick Answer: Is Selective Mutism A Mental Illness?

Is selective mutism a disability?

It’s National Developmental Disability Month.

One disability not only hidden but most frequently overlooked is Selective Mutism.

“More than 90% of children with Selective Mutism also have social phobia or social anxiety.

This disorder is quite debilitating and painful to the child..

Who can diagnosis selective mutism?

Diagnosis of selective mutism is mostly on the basis of the patient’s clinical history. A speech-language pathologist (SLP) plays a key role in the diagnosis of the condition. A child who shows signs of selective mutism should be taken to an SLP, apart from a pediatrician and a child psychologist.

Is selective mutism a neurological disorder?

The neurological basis for selective mutism is thought to be a cascade of events in an area of the brain known as the amygdala, which receives danger signals from the environment. The anxiety from a situation perceived as dangerous to the child’s well-being causes a communication shutdown.

Is selective mutism the same as social anxiety?

Selective mutism can be considered as a variant of social anxiety disorder because of the significant overlap in symptoms profile as well as treatment response.

Does selective mutism ever go away?

Selective mutism typically does not go away on its own, and in fact can lead to worsened anxiety and social difficulty if not addressed.

Does selective mutism run in families?

The majority of children with Selective Mutism have a genetic predisposition to anxiety. In other words, they have inherited a tendency to be anxious from one or more family members.

How long does selective mutism last?

Symptoms of selective mutism Lasts at least one month – not limited to the first month of school. Failure to speak is not due to lack of knowledge about or comfort with the spoken language.

How serious is selective mutism?

Selective mutism is a severe anxiety disorder where a person is unable to speak in certain social situations, such as with classmates at school or to relatives they do not see very often. It usually starts during childhood and, if left untreated, can persist into adulthood.

Is selective mutism on the autism spectrum?

Some people confuse selective mutism with autism, but it is important to know that they are not the same disorder. Autism and selective mutism may appear to be similar; when children with selective mutism feel anxious, they often react with a lack of eye contact, a blank expression, and a lack of verbal communication.

Is there medication for selective mutism?

Despite limited evidence, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) are used to reduce symptoms of selective mutism (SM) in children unresponsive to psychosocial interventions.

What triggers selective mutism?

The cause, or causes, are unknown. Most experts believe that children with the condition inherit a tendency to be anxious and inhibited. Most children with selective mutism have some form of extreme social fear (phobia). Parents often think that the child is choosing not to speak.

Can selective mutism cause depression?

In the early teenage years, selective mutism is very often compounded by social anxiety disorder. By young adulthood, or earlier, many people with selective mutism will also experience depression and other anxiety disorders, including agoraphobia.

How do you know if you have selective mutism?

Your child may have selective mutism if s/he… Speaks in certain settings but stops talking, either completely or almost completely, when other people are around. Looks frozen or paralyzed (like a “deer in the headlights”) or even angry when asked questions by strangers or when s/he feels uncomfortable.

Is selective mutism a medical diagnosis?

Selective mutism is in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: Fifth Edition, or DSM-5. Doctors and others use the DSM-5 to help diagnose social and mental problems. In the DSM-5, a child with selective mutism may: Have an anxiety disorder.

How do you help someone with selective mutism?

When interacting with a child with Selective Mutism, DO:Allow for warm-up time.Monitor the child’s body language.Talk “around” the child at first with focus on parents or siblings.Get down on the child’s level and focus on a prop.Ask choice and direct questions to the child with focus on the prop.More items…•

How common is selective mutism?

Selective mutism is recorded to affect less than one percent of children in the United States. This disorder appears slightly more common in females than in males. The percent of affected population is unknown due to undiagnosis and misdiagnosis.

How do you deal with a selective mute in the classroom?

Teachers can help students with selective mutism by:developing warm, supportive relationships, even if the interactions are nonverbal.easing anxiety in the classroom by pairing them up with a buddy.using small-group instruction and activities.More items…