How do we reach a diagnosis for selective mutism

When we assess children with selective mutism first we need to decide whether their symptoms fit with a diagnosis:

  1. the child has a consistent pattern of speaking and non speaking with certain people under certain conditions
  2. even when it is clearly in the child’s interest to speak they don’t
  3. the child has described, in absence of stammering, a sensation of freezing or the voice getting stuck or not coming out
  4. Although SM can exist alongside other diagnoses the child mutism cannot be better explained by one of the following
  • speech and language difficulties
  • social communication difficulties
  • hearing loss
  • developmental delays
  • learning difficulties
  • cultural influences or
  • psychiatric conditions

In other word even if the quality of the child speech or language is affected by other diagnoses there is still a consistent pattern of speaking to some people but not others

Keep tuned as we’re going to be talking about next whether it is a low or high profile selective mutism.

(Abstract taken from Johnson, M. and Wintgens, A. (2016) The Selective Mutism Resource Manual (2nd Edition). Routledge: Taylor and Francis Group, London and New York)

Anna Biavati-Smith
Specialist Speech and language Therapist
© Copyright 2017 edinburgh-speech-therapy-wordsteps.co.uk . All rights reserved.
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