Selective Mutism

Selective mutism (SM) describes a behavioral pattern in which a child consistently does not speak under some circumstances, when speaking is expected, despite speaking comfortably in other contexts. Most commonly, the child speaks freely in the home and with immediate family but does not speak in less familiar settings, such as school and with peers, teachers, and extended family. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), characterizes SM as an anxiety disorder, and it is one of two anxiety disorders, along with separation anxiety disorder, in which onset is nearly always in childhood but that can be diagnosed in adults. SM is closely tied to social anxiety, with the majority of children with SM receiving a comorbid diagnosis of social ...

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