Selective Mutism


Selective mutism is a childhood anxiety disorder characterized by a consistent failure to speak in specific social situations despite having the ability to speak and understand language.


  • Mutism: Inability to speak or extreme difficulty speaking in certain social settings, such as school or public places.
  • Consistency: The mutism persists over time and is not solely related to unfamiliarity or discomfort in the situation.
  • Speech in Other Settings: The child is capable of speaking and does so comfortably in other familiar situations, such as at home with family members.
  • Anxiety: The mutism is often linked to feelings of anxiety and fear about social interactions and expectations.


Selective mutism is typically treated using a multi-faceted approach that may include:

  • Behavioral Therapy: Techniques such as gradual exposure and positive reinforcement are employed to help the individual feel more comfortable speaking in various social situations.
  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): This therapy helps individuals recognize and modify problematic thoughts and beliefs related to their anxiety and mutism.
  • Medication: In some cases, medication may be prescribed alongside therapy to manage associated anxiety or other underlying mental health conditions.