hysterical paralysis or mutism.
In some ways IÃ¢m glad I have had selective mutism.
On the 3rd day of readmission... Mr Brown has developed severe myoclonic jerks alternating with akinetic mutism.
Children who come from a bilingual background are slightly more likely to display selective mutism.
Mutism is a rare childhood condition characterized by a consistent failure to speak in situations where talking is expected.
In mutism, the child has the ability to converse normally and does so, for example, in the home, but consistently fails to speak in specific situations such as at school or with strangers.
The condition is also called selective mutism, to differentiate it from children who are physically unable to speak.
Over 90 percent of children with mutism also have social phobia or social anxiety, and some experts view mutism as a symptom of social anxiety.
What is clear is that children and adolescents with mutism have an actual fear of speaking and of social interactions where there is an expectation to talk.
The child speaks normally in at least one environment, usually in the home, but a small percentage of children with mutism are mute at home.
The mutism has persisted for at least one month.
The mutism is not caused by a communication disorder (such as stuttering) and does not occur as part of other mental disorders (such as autism).
It is estimated that one in every 1,000 school-age children are affected by mutism.
Mutism is believed to arise from anxiety experienced in social situations where the child may be called upon to speak.
The majority of children with mutism have a genetic predisposition to anxiety.
There is reason to believe that many or most children with mutism were born with this inhibited personality type.
Over time, a child with selective mutism becomes mute because of an inability to cope with fearful feelings that occur when he or she is expected to speak.
Besides genetics and biological factors, researchers believe that other factors may contribute to the development of selective mutism.
A significant number of children with mutism also have expressive language disorders, and a fairly large number come from a bilingual environment, which may add to a child's vulnerability to mutism.
Anxiety is still the root cause of the mutism, and it is theorized that these language difficulties may make the child more self-conscious about his or her speaking skills and thus may increase the fear of being judged by others.
If selective mutism persists for more than a month, parents should discuss this pattern with their child's teachers, family physician, or pediatrician.
The diagnosis of mutism is fairly easy to make because the signs and symptoms are clear-cut and easily observable.
It is not until children enter school, where there is an expectation to perform, interact, and speak, that mutism becomes more apparent.
Often a parent suspects during the preschool years that there is a problem, but lack of knowledge about selective mutism makes it difficult to find help.
Since selective mutism is an anxiety disorder, successful treatment focuses on methods to lower anxiety, increase self-esteem, and increase confidence and communication in social settings.
The primary types of behavioral therapy used for selective mutism are desensitization, fading, and positive reinforcement techniques.
Though some may fear that allowing nonverbal communication will enable the mutism to continue, many therapists believe it is a necessary step for most children with mutism to overcome their communication anxiety in a step-by-step manner.
Since there is no evidence of family pathology being the cause of most cases of mutism, this type of therapy is not necessary in most cases.
Mutism cannot be prevented because the cause is not known.
Parents should read as much information as they can to become well informed about selective mutism.
It is important for family members to be educated and informed about selective mutism and to be included in the child's treatment plan in order to provide a supportive environment for the child's recovery.
The stress of dealing with the child's mutism may have created various imbalances in family dynamics, and parents may need help in coming to terms with their own emotions and becoming more consistent in their parenting styles.
Lindsey, et al. "Prevalence and Description of Selective Mutism in a School-Based Sample."
"A Brief Review of Selective Mutism Literature."
"Selective Mutism: An Integrated Treatment Approach."
Yeganeh, Robin, et al. "Clinical Distinctions Between Selective Mutism and Social Phobia: An Investigation of Childhood Psychopathology."
A language delay can lead to elective mutism, a condition in which children choose not to speak.
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