Monday, February 26, 2024

Selective Mutism And Autism

Don't Miss

Selective Mutism Vs Traumatic Mutism

Selective Mutism & Autism

Traumatic mutism is another condition that frequently compared with selective mutism.

It is a type of mutism that suddenly develops in all situations.

It has already been proven that the individual can speak, but they simply stop talking altogether.

This issue usually happens when a person undergoes a sudden traumatic event like witnessing a loved oneâs passing or experiencing abuse.

It is also possible for those with selective mutism to eventually progress to mutism in all settings.

This stage can happen due to negative reinforcement or a deep sense of being misunderstood.

Fortunately, it can also happen the other way around.

Someone who is mute across all social interactions will eventually muster enough confidence to talk with a few trusted people through constant therapy and positive reinforcement.

Commonalities And Differences In Social Difficulties Of Sm Sad And Asd

Apart from the observed links between SM and SAD/ASD, there is also evidence that children with ASD frequently display SAD . Thus, SM, SAD, and ASD can be viewed as three allied psychiatric conditions. At a categorical level the three disorders frequently co-occur, while at a dimensional level symptoms of these disorders are substantially correlated and sometimes similarities are so prominent that it is difficult to distinguish them from one another . In this section, we zoom in on various social difficulties associated with SM, SAD, and ASD with a focus on communalities as well as differences. More specifically, we will consider four aspects that are highly relevant for understanding social functioning and dysfunctioning: emotional responses in social situations, or more briefly, social emotion, social cognition, social skills, and social motivation .

Selective Mutism And Autism: Is My Child Mute Or Autistic

By Claire Delano, BA

Delayed first words and speech irregularities are some of the most common symptoms of autism spectrum disorder . If your child only talks with close family members and friends but shuts down at school or with extended family, you might suspect that autism is the reason.

When a child finds themself unable to speak to certain people, this is called selective mutism. But what causes selective mutism? Is it always linked to ASD? Lets dive into these questions and more.

You May Like: Person With Autism Or Autistic Person

Research In Selective Mutism Is Lacking And Misformed

Due to the fact that selective mutism is such a rare condition, much of the research is based on subjective findings and can be quite misleading. The result is that many professionals view selective mutism from a misinformed perspective.

Inappropriate ideas about SM leave those affected with the responsibility of educating those around them, which is especially difficult when communicating with words can be so difficultor impossible.

Many teachers often fail to recognize that selective mutism doesnt only affect being able to speak, and further get frustrated when their student with SM isnt responding to them.

People with SM are very sensitive and hyper-vigilant individuals and take in the environment around them as something frightening. They can often freeze up in situations, even where any type of communication is required even in text.

Many people with SM find themselves unable to send emails to their teachers, therapists, or someone of authority because that is an expectation of them to communicate, which can bring severe anxiety to these individuals. If someone like me, who struggles with SM is unable to respond to you, we arent ignoring you, we are just overstimulated and our brain and body shuts down our ability to communicate.

We need a supportive environment, where teachers and staff talk to us as equals and treat us with care and compassion instead of enforcing normative expectations on people with SM.

Child Develop Selective Mutism

26. Autism &  Selective Mutism en Outloud The Selective Mutism Podcast ...

Children with Selective Mutism often have severely inhibited nature. Studies show that individuals with inhibited nature are more prone to anxiety than those without shy nature. Children with selective mutism have Sensory Processing Disorder which means they have trouble in processing specific sensory information. Example: sensitive to sounds, lights, touch, taste, and smells, etc.

Also Check: Treating Adhd In Adults

Selective Mutism In Adults: Reddit

As mentioned in the previous section, selective mutism does not hamper the person from typing or reaching out a little bit, which is what makes it so different from the other types of mutism and speech issues that are seen in the other major psychiatric disorders.

Therefore, here are some experiences of real people from reddit who suffer from, or think they suffer from, selective mutism:

Ive always been a quiet and shy person. Every single report Ive had since nursery has been about how Im quiet and that I need to speak more at school. Up until somewhere in yr7 I could speak to people at school without yknow feeling as if I couldnt physically speak to them. There is nothing physically stopping me from speaking but whenever I try to like when I get asked a question in a lesson it feels as if I cant like, I have no voice.

I dont really have any friends, and my social skills are just poor. The people that I really only talk to are my family.

I dont really understand why Im like this or why I cant speak to people. A few teachers at school have tried to get me to speak to them because yknow theyre worried about me because my mum mentioned that I get real angry super easily.

Can You Have Selective Mutism And Autism

Anyway, now that we have fully differentiated selective mutism vs autism, donât think that itâs only possible to get just one of the two.

To answer this question, yes, it is possible to have both autism and selective mutism.

Apparently, those with developmental delays and disabilities, like Pervasive Developmental Disorder and Aspergers, are at a higher risk of eventually developing selective mutism.

We believe that this is also related to some of the causes of selective mutism shared above.

For instance, those aware of their developmental disability may find it extremely uncomfortable to communicate with other people.

It can cause severe anxiety, especially for those who were heavily bullied when they were young. That can then potentially lead to selective mutism.

Whatâs most important to remember is that every situation is unique.

It would be ideal if most of the information weâre sharing actually relates to your specific case, but the truth is, it also might not.

In the end, we highly recommend consulting a professional if you have more specific queries that we have failed to cover in this article.

Also Check: Are Kids Born With Autism

Does My Child Have Mutism Or Autism

As weve seen, its possible for kids to show signs of both conditions. If your child has ASD, selective mutism wont be the only symptom. Keep an eye out for other traits, such as

and other behaviors. Check out our article Signs of Autism in Babies and Toddlers for more information about spotting ASD in young children.

Fred Is 7 And He Is Autistic He Becomes Selectively Mute In More And More Situations

Selective Mutism and Autism: Interview with Chelsea Gamache

For example, when people come to his house, including family members, when teachers and teaching assistants come into his class but are not his class team, when he bumps into people he knows in the street. He did not respond in this way when he was younger, but Fred has become mute more often and with more people as he has got older.

Possible reasons why:

Schools view: Staff at school think that Fred is extremely shy and lacks confidence.

Relatives view: Family members think that Freds parents are too soft with him, he is too clingy and behaves like a younger child. They think his parents should be firmer about his behaviour. Fred used to talk to his relatives, and his family think that his parents should be firmer about how he behaves when they see him.

Parents: Freds parents are not sure why he has become mute in more and more situations, but they think that it is probably related to anxiety. As he gets older, he is becoming more anxious about lots of things, and talking to people is a trigger.

How can we help Fred?

Certainty: We cannot make life completely certain, but we can help by giving Fred some certainty. For example, his parents can use a calendar at home to show him what is happening in the week, such as: Sunday granny and grandpa coming to tea.

Why cant they just tell him? They can tell him but

Auditory processing is often a weakness for autistic people, which means that they cannot process information as easily and as quickly as others.

Don’t Miss: Adhd Meds Side Effects

What Is The Difference Between Selective Mutism And Autism

Selective mutism and autism share several key features and can be challenging at times to differentiate. It is important that children receive a timely, accurate diagnosis to ensure they receive appropriate treatment as soon as possible. This article is intended to provide a general overview of characteristics commonly found in children with selective mutism and autism and help guide you down the right path to getting help for your child.

Signs Of Selective Mutism

If your child has selective mutism, you may notice that:

  • She will not speak at times when she should, like in school. This will happen all of the time in that situation. Your child will talk at other times and in other places.
  • Not speaking gets in the way of school, work, or friendships.
  • This behavior lasts for at least 1 month. This does not include the first month of school because children may be shy and not talk right away.
  • Your child can speak the language needed at that time. A child who does not know the language being used may not talk. This is not selective mutism.
  • Your child does not have a speech or language problem that might cause her to stop talking.

Don’t Miss: Autism And Ocd Comorbidity

Q My 8 Year Old Son Has Just Been Diagnosed As Having Mild Autism Spectrum Disorder From The Age Of 3 Until About 6 Years He Has Displayed All The Characteristics Of Selective Mutism He Talks Quite A Bit At Home But Was Completely Silent At Preschool We Have Been Treating Him For Sm And He Has Improved To The Point Where He Can Now Answer The Teacher’s Questions And Can Talk Quietly To One Of His Friends In Class In The Last 12 Months We Have Noticed Some Other Unusual Behavior And Our Psychologist Now Says He Is On The Autism Spectrum Which Means He Can’t Have Sm Too Is That Correct Even Though We Are Being Told To Continue Treating Him For Sm

Your psychologist is right that its not technically possible under current DSM-V criteria to be diagnosed with both selective mutism and autism. But we know diagnoses arent perfect, and it isnt unusual for diagnoses to change as children develop. At one developmental stage a child may not look that different from his peers. At age 3, subtle differences in communication are not that easy to pick out, especially in high-functioning kids. Its only when children are older, and start to miss developmental milestones for social behavior, social appropriateness, social connectedness, that they start to more clearly look different from their peers. Kids with SM are different from those with autism in comfortable situations, SM kids interact just fine, with a full range of emotion, and awareness of social interpretation. Its only when they become uncomfortable that they fall silent.

Kids on the autism spectrum have a qualitative difference in how they understand and interact socially. They have a hard time interpreting subtleties of social interaction, whether or not theyre in comfortable or uncomfortable settings. Interestingly though, in this case, the treatment that we recommend for selective mutism isnt that different, in approach, from whats recommended for kids on the spectrum, called applied behavior analysis, or ABA. ABA is really about helping kids develop by giving positive rewards for small behaviors, broken down step-by-step.

The Mysterious Cause Of Selective Mutism

Selective mutism printable Communication Cards Non

While it is still unknown what causes selective mutism, a variety of factors are thought to be at play. A child diagnosed with selective mutism may have been abused or neglected in the past, which may have contributed to the condition. Children with selective mutism may be more timid and have difficulty speaking up in class or at home. The term selective mutism is used to describe children who have been abused or neglected, but it can also refer to abused or neglected children. Most children diagnosed with selective mutism do not have trauma in their lives. One out of every 140 children suffers from selective mutism. Most of the time, it occurs in girls and children who are learning a second language, such as recent immigrants.

Also Check: What Is Stemming In Autism

Unique Contributions Of Various Constructs To Symptoms Of Sm

To examine the unique contributions of various constructs to symptoms of SM, three linear regression analyses with SMQ scores as the dependent variable were conducted . As demographic did not have a large impact on the variables included in this study, we did not include them as predictors in the regression models. However, running the analyses with gender and age as additional predictors yielded highly similar results. Before discussing the results of the regression analysis, two general remarks should be made. First, diagnostic tests were conducted to detect multicollinearity issues. Results showed that Variance Inflation Factor values were all ⤠4.84, while Tolerance values were ⥠0.22, which points out that there were no substantial violations of multicollinearity . Second, it was found that each of the tested models were statistically significant and that across various analyses predictor variables explained between 46 and 51% of the total variance in symptoms of SM.

Table 2. Main results of the regression analyses in which symptoms of SM were predicted from social anxiety, autistic features, and behavioral inhibition.

Relations Between Sm And Sad/asd

In this section, we will summarize existing evidence on the link between SM and two other types of psychopathology that are also characterized by social difficulties, namely SAD and ASD. The primary focus will be on comorbidity data however, if such data are not available, we will describe other findings that support the notion that SM is related in meaningful ways to both SAD and ASD.

Don’t Miss: When Did You Know Your Baby Has Autism

Comorbid Asd In The Sm Study Group

Of the 97 individuals with SM, 63% had ASD, hereinafter referred to as the SM+ASD group. Of these, 28 had AD, 29 had atypical autism/PDD-NOS, and 4 had AS. A further 20% had autistic features that were subclinical, but, nevertheless, sufficiently marked to have an impact on everyday life. No ASD symptoms at all were found in 17% . The group with a few autistic features, but not enough for a formal ASD diagnosis, and the group with no ASD symptoms were collapsed and are referred to as the SMASD group .

What Is The Treatment For Selective Mutism

Shyness? Reluctance to speak? ASD? Or selective mutism?

Children with this condition are typically treated by mental health professionals, speech-language pathologists , or both. SLPs will be able to help if your child has difficulties, like stuttering or cluttering, that could make them feel insecure about their voice.

An SLP can also examine your childs mouth, jaw, and tongue to see if there are any physical issues. Theyll probably also conduct a hearing test to make sure their mutism isnt due to troubles with understanding others.

Speech therapists may use a variety of tactics to encourage your child to speak more. One, called shaping, rewards all attempts at communication: eye contact, pointing, mouthing words, whispering, etc. This helps the child gradually become more comfortable sharing their thoughts. Activities like reading aloud may also be used to work up to speaking in a conversation.

Stimulus fading is when the child starts out speaking to someone theyre close with, and another person slowly joins in.

Read Also: How To Get Autism Street Sign

Can You Have Both Selective Mutism And Autism

Several professionals who incorrectly diagnose selective mutism as autism or a learning disability may have misdiagnosed it. Selective mutism cannot be classified as autism or learning disability because children with learning disabilities or autism may show symptoms of the disorder.

There is a link between anxiety and selective mutism. This condition is caused by a loss of ability to speak or communicate effectively in social settings, as well as a loss of ability to speak and communicate in familiar, comfortable, and relaxed settings. Select selective mutism is uncommon in less than 1% of children. Selective mutism is not a disease that affects children in any way. It usually starts in childhood and can last for the rest of ones life. Children with selective mutism are terrified and unable to communicate. The shutdown effect occurs in certain social situations, resulting in extremely emotional and physical symptoms.

Due to an excess of excitability in the amygdala region of the brain, verbal communication is said to be impossible. In general, the more children who are treated for selective mutism at a young age, the better the results. Early treatment reduces the effects of depression and anxiety, as well as social isolation and low self-esteem, in addition to reducing repercussions.

Symptoms Of Selective Mutism In Non

  • 1Department of Clinical Psychological Science, Maastricht University, Maastricht, Netherlands
  • 2Departement of Sielkunde, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa
  • 3Department of Psychology, Virginia Polytechnic and State University, Blacksburg, VA, United States
  • 4Department of Psychology, Roehampton University, London, United Kingdom

Don’t Miss: How To Get An Autistic Child To Calm Down

Selective Mutism In Adults

It is not unusual for an adult to step onto a podium in front of an audience to only discover that their voice will not work. What causes this? Extreme anxiety.

This adult may have no other anxiety issues, with no problems socializing and communicating in other settings, but when they stepped up to the microphone their reaction closely resembled selective mutism. The likeness is that they could not speak, they felt intense panic, and they may have stood frozen in one positionunable to move or speak until they used their internal mechanisms to lower their anxiety level. These mechanisms are lacking in adults and children with untreated selective mutism.

Selective mutism is not a disorder that is specific to children. It usually starts in childhood and can persist into adulthood. Adults diagnosed with selective mutism experience anxiety and the inability to speakthe shut down effect that occurs in certain pressing social situations, which results in intense emotional and physical difficulties.

More articles

Popular Articles