Information on selective mutism from NHS choices
Reviewed information from NICE
US Foundation, their site provides advise for professionals and parents as well as information about the SMF.
A US organisation including professionals, parents, sufferers and ex-sufferers. The website provides much information and includes many downloadable factsheets and articles concerning selective mutism.
Selective Mutism Information & Research Association. UK voluntary organisation providing support, resources and advice.
Information on selective mutism from the Speech Disorder website.
Wikipedia Extract : View Full Article
Selective mutism (SM) is an anxiety disorder in which a person who is normally capable of speech cannot speak in specific situations or to specific people.
Selective mutism usually co-exists with shyness or social anxiety. People with selective mutism stay silent even when the consequences of their silence include shame, social ostracism, or punishment. Selective mutism affects about 0.8% of people at some point in their lives.
Children and adults with selective mutism are fully capable of speech and understanding language but forgo speaking in certain situations, though speech is expected of them. The behaviour may be perceived as shyness or rudeness by others. A child with selective mutism may be completely silent at school for years but speak quite freely or even excessively at home.
There is a hierarchical variation among people with this disorder: some people participate fully in activities and appear social but do not speak, others will speak only to peers but not to adults, others will speak to adults when asked questions requiring short answers but never to peers, and still others speak to no one and participate in few, if any, activities presented to them.
In a severe form known as "progressive mutism", the disorder progresses until the person with this condition no longer speaks to anyone in any situation, even close family members.
Selective mutism is by definition characterized by the following:
Selective mutism is strongly associated with other anxiety disorders, particularly social anxiety disorder. In fact, the majority of children diagnosed with selective mutism also have social anxiety disorder (100% of participants in two studies and 97% in another). Some researchers therefore speculate that selective mutism may be an avoidance strategy used by a subgroup of children with social anxiety disorder to reduce their distress in social situations.
Particularly in young children, SM can sometimes be confused with an autism spectrum disorder, especially if the child acts particularly withdrawn around his or her diagnostician, which can lead to incorrect treatment. If mutism is entirely due to autism spectrum disorder, it cannot be diagnosed as selective mutism.
The former name elective mutism indicates a widespread misconception among psychologists that selective mute people choose to be silent in certain situations, while the truth is that they often wish to speak but have difficulty doing so. To reflect the involuntary nature of this disorder, the name was changed to selective mutism in 1994.
The incidence of selective mutism is not certain. Due to the poor understanding of this condition by the general public, many cases are likely undiagnosed. Based on the number of reported cases, the figure is commonly estimated to be 1 in 1000, 0.1%. However, a 2002 study in The Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry estimated the incidence to be 0.71%.