A Description of Selective Mutism Essay

Submitted By Chani376
Words: 647
Pages: 3

Selective mutism is a social anxiety disorder in which a person who is normally capable of speech is unable to speak in given social situations. It is first diagnosed in the childhood years, usually in a school setting. Before beginning a diagnosis, the symptoms must last for at least one month. Selective mutism is slightly more common in girls than in boys, and does not usually occur before the age of five.
Selective Mutism might be a reaction to a trauma like moving, switching schools, abuse or any other traumatic experiences. People have a higher risk of being selectively mute if they have a relative with either a history of SM, extreme shyness, or social phobia. The Selective mutism may be covering up for an anxiety that already exists.
While in a social situation which the child feels anxiety stricken, they will act withdrawn, lonesome, and aloof. This is because in reality, speaking isn’t just vocalizing a statement; it is an expression of emotions. Therefore, children who aren’t speaking to their peers cannot express these emotions and tend to act out in a violent manner. This disorder may be confused with autism, however, the main difference is that in situations where the child feels comfortable, they will speak the child should be tested for any auditory malfunctions which may be causing the mutism from a physical standpoint. There are a few different techniques that help children overcome their mutism. The first is multi-modal therapy. This includes a way where the child can take control of their emotions. The most important thing to keep in mind is to keep a relaxed atmosphere and encourage the child’s communicational gestures. Other ways to overcome SM is The Behavioral Intervention program. One method is contingency management. This involves positively reinforcing the child for verbalizations and not reinforcing the non-verbal requests. The downside of this method is that many children with selective mutism push away the reward and are still reluctant to speak aloud. Another technique used is The Modern Psychoanalytic Intervention. It involves understanding the feelings of the selectively mute child. It is important to work with the child in a relaxed atmosphere, since many times these children are questioned and pressured to speak. It is important to work with the child in order to “understand the meaning of the silence rather than acting on their own anxious feelings of getting the child to speak.” In a case study performed, Anna has been showing many symptoms of selective mutism in school including some signs of anxiety. Her therapist used the modern psychoanalytic approach which involved family therapy. Anna’s mother remained in the therapy sessions…