selective mutism

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inability or refusal to speak, most often because deafness has prevented the person from hearing the spoken word. speech is learned by imitating the speech of others. The child who is born with normal hearing and then loses it may lose part or all of the power of speech through loss of contact with the speech of others. Mutism may also occur because the voice organs themselves have been damaged or removed, such as when a laryngectomy is performed for throat cancer. In other cases loss of speech may be psychogenic in nature. Called also aphonia.
akinetic mutism a state in which the person makes no spontaneous movement or vocal sound, because of either neurologic or psychologic reasons. Called also abulia.
selective mutism a mental disorder of childhood characterized by continuous refusal to speak in social situations when the child is able and willing to speak to selected persons.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.

selective mutism

A form of social phobia, typically first identified in young children, in which the child fails to speak in certain public settings but has normal speech at other times. Synonym: elective mutism
See also: mutism
Medical Dictionary, © 2009 Farlex and Partners

Patient discussion about selective mutism

Q. clonex symptoms in Selective Mutism Syndrome children My son is 6.5 years old, with selective mutism syndrome - in a months time he shall be entering first grade. We have, the past 2 years been with therapists specializing in this field. He has improved outside a closed system i.e. within the kindergarten (primarily) we even see some regression. We have been at major dilemmas with giving him medication but due to the critical time - we were recommended to take 0.125 mg of Clonex medication. we are a little worried and would like to understand the possible symptoms

A. As a benzodiazepin, it can cause drowsiness, weakness and other changes in behavior. There may be some other side-effects, that you can read about here (

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References in periodicals archive ?
About 90% of children with selective mutism also have social anxiety, and one hypothesis is that anxiety results in a hyperexcitable amygdala, which in turn activates the central gray area, causing increased muscle tension.
Initial studies on selective mutism indicated the prevalence of selective mutism to be higher for girls than boys, but recent evidence suggests a more equal gender distribution (Andersson & Thomsen, 1998; Hayden, 1980; Remschmidt, Poller, Herpertz-Dahlmann, Hennighausen, & Gutenbrunner, 2001; Wilkens, 1985).
Prevalence and description of selective mutism in a school-based sample.
Selective mutism is a complex anxiety disorder characterized by a child's inability to speak and communicate effectively in select social settings, such as the school.
The behavioral variations and rate of progress varies widely among children with selective mutism. These variations limit a manualized response.
I was surprised we had a college student with selective mutism. I knew that pressuring such students to speak up would only make them retreat into their shells.
Selective mutism affects one in 150 children, is more common in girls, and most primary schools will know of at least one child with it.
Natasha, who has selective mutism and other medical issues, used to lack confidence but has blossomed into a wonderful role model.
It can also cause miscarriages or leave a child at the risk of developing a disability, which can include heart defects or selective mutism', a disorder that prevents them from speaking."
Music teacher, Miriam Choi of Melbourne, Australia works with children suffering from autism and selective mutism. Selective mutism (SM) is a disorder that occurs in childhood and is characterized by an inability to speak in certain settings, such as school, or in public places, as opposed to speaking at home with family members.
He had selective mutism (anxiety disorder) and difficulty developing relationships, and was placed outside the Kirklees area but he wanted to return.
There was an especially moving moment when Ashley, who also has selective mutism, chatted happily at length with the boys.

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