Alternate Names : Elective Mutism
Selective mutism is a condition in which a person who is usually
fluent in speech won't speak in specific situations. Selective mutism primarily affects children.
What is going on in the body?
The majority of people who exhibit
selective mutism appear to have some type of anxiety disorder. A person who has this condition usually has
understanding of language in most situations. In other cases, though, they
appear as if they have a total lack of language where one would expect oral
speech, such as in school. This condition may extend over a period of time, at
least 1 to 2 months and longer. This occurs in the absence of any specific
medical problem that may prevent speech.
What are the causes and risks of the condition?
The cause of
selective mutism is not clear. Possible causes include:
immigrant family background
significant early childhood trauma
injury that affects the mouth
possible history of speech disorders early in childhood or delayed onset of speech