Selective Mutism Suggestions

(Also Known As: Selective Mute Suggestions, Mutism Suggestions, Elective Mutism Suggestions)

(Reviewed by: Paul Peterson, Licensed Therapist)

Suggestions on Selective Mutism

Experts have these tips for parents who think their child may have selective mutism:

  • Trust your instincts. If the problem is persistent and you feel it is deeper than shyness, go to your doctor and ask for a referral to a medical professional who is familiar with selective mutism. If your child is still not speaking in class by the middle of his or her kindergarten year, seek help.
  • Try behavioral modification methods, such as a sticker chart that acts as a reward system for the accomplishment of small, speaking-related goals.
  • Don't force your child to speak. Don't say you can do this. Encourage him with rewards, but do not use force. The most important thing is to be accepting of your child, Shipon-Blum says. You do not want to introduce any further anxiety into the situation.
  • Consider switching schools to a new environment where there are no expectations of the child. This can be a type of cure for some who have mild mutism, Shipon-Blum says. Look for a small, nurturing school where your child can feel comfortable.
  • Invite classmates over for play dates as much as possible, usually on a one-to-one basis.
  • Meet your child's teacher before school starts to explain the problem and coordinate strategies. Tell the teacher not to force your child to speak.
  • Don't be afraid to medicate. Shipon-Blum says, If you take 10 kids who are selectively mute and you put them on medication, most will have (improvement). Two or three months of medication will get them ahead of years of therapy. citation_ref-20">20

Could You Have Selective Mutism?

Selective Mutism Topics

Related Conditions

Anxiety Disorder NOS – Irrational Fears, Anxiety, Phobia, Depression, Stress
Reactive Attachment Disorder – Inappropriate Ways to Relate Socially, Failure to Form Normal Attachment to Caregivers During Childhood
Separation Anxiety Disorder – Anxiety From Separation to a Care Giver, Strong Emotional Attachment
Social Anxiety Disorder – Social Phobia, Distressed, Depression, Anxious, Chronic Fear, Panic Attack, Intense Fear and Anxiety