Selective mutism can be considered as a refusal or inability to speak with strangers or with other class children, but it does not happen in the home itself. It has been shown that children who suffer from it do not usually have any kind of difficulty in their comprehension or verbal expression , but there may be some difficulty in expressive language and / or in the articulation of words.

In cases such as severe or profound intellectual disability, autism or expressive language development disorder, there may be an absence of speech , but it would occur in all situations, not as occurs in the case of selective mutism that would be in situations related to spaces outside the home or when the child is in the presence of strangers.


Where does selective mutism come from?

Selective mutism is emotional in nature and usually begins before the age of six or at the beginning of school. If it is not treated prematurely it can alter the social capacities of the child leading, among other things, to school failure.

Several subtypes have been described and may be associated with it or other language disorders such as dysglossia , difficulty in articulation due to a malformation in the speech apparatus, or dysarthria when it is neuromotor in nature, as can occur in cases of cerebral palsy. childish. In addition, other types of problems are also associated with selective mutism, such as those related to the child’s behavior in cases such as, for example, increasing social isolation, a refusal to go to school, or extreme shyness and / or negativism.

mutismo infantil


Possible causes of selective mutism

Some of the factors that could be related to selective mutism are:

  • The overprotection of the child.
  • Presence of unidentified language disorders.
  • Situations of hospitalization, immigration or trauma that occurred in the first years of life.


Most common symptoms of selective mutism in children

  • Inability to speak This inability to speak is not due to a lack of knowledge or fluency of the spoken language required in the social situation, but the alteration interferes with school performance or social communication.
  • Persistent inability to speak in specific social situations in which it is expected, such as at school, despite the fact that the child can do so in other common situations.

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