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Saturday, July 13, 2024

Selective Mutism

The principal difficulty of patients diagnosed with selective mutism is that they experience a repetitive inability to speak in specific social situations in which it is expected of them and they expect it of themselves to speak (e. g., at school).  These patients are perfectly able of articulating speech in other situations.          

The diagnosis of selective mutism is considered when the clinical picture of the patient presents the three following characteristics:

  1. The disturbance interferes with educational or occupational achievement or with social communication.
  2. The duration of the disturbance is at least 1 month (not limited to the first month of school).
  3. The failure to speak is not attributable to a lack of knowledge of, or comfort with, the spoken language required in the social situation in which it occurs.

Important notice: You should not reach the decision that you or the person you have in mind, when reading the above clinical description, suffers from selective mutism. We encourage you to seek professional advice, if you feel that you or the persons you care about meet one or more of the clinical criteria.

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