Selective Mutism

Selective mutism (SM) is a disorder of childhood of unknown cause. It is characterized by a lack of speech in many social settings and is often first noticed when a child begins school. Adolf Kussmaul first identified SM in publication in 1877, as aphasis voluntaria. In 1934, Moritz Tramer renamed it Elective Mutism. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition-Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR) (2000) identifies six major characteristics that must be satisfied for a diagnosis:

  • There is a persistent lack of speech in many social settings such as school.
  • The individual is able to produce clear and spontaneous speech in some settings and with some individuals, most often at home.
  • The lack of speech interferes with education or social communication.
  • The lack of ...
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