Selective Mutism Awareness Month, October 2022

"October is Selective Mutism Awareness Month! And while the selective mutism (SM) community is growing, there are still many misconceptions out in the world about SM and related behaviors. These myths not only impact family decisions to pursue treatment, but also school decisions to inform families of students’ non-speaking behaviors.

  • Diagnostically speaking, selective mutism is characterized by a child or adolescent’s consistent failure to speak in specific social situations (e.g., at school, in their community, with unfamiliar adults) despite speaking in other situations (e.g., at home, with parents).
  • It’s not that individuals with SM are refusing to speak, but rather that they are unable to speak in certain situations because of their impairing and overwhelming anxiety. While it is not uncommon for a child with SM to also demonstrate disruptive behavior, this typically represents anxious avoidance (e.g., throwing toys when prompted to speak)"

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