Selective mutism in children

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Southern New Hampshire University
This thesis focuses on selective mutism, a rare childhood disorder in which the child refuses to speak in many situations and there are no underlying medical or speech disabilities that explains their behavior. The research of the paper focuses on the many different factors that can have a role in the development of selective mutism, including parent child relationship as well as the development of anxiety. Also discussed are the impacts this disorder can have on a child’s development, two main areas being academics and social relationships. Many teachers and parents do not have a full understanding of selective mutism, which may hinder the support that is made available to the child as the age of onset often occurs around the child’s entrance to school. This makes selective mutism an important topic because there is a need for educating caregivers. Part of this project will be surveying teachers in order to gain an understanding of their knowledge of selective mutism and what can be done to bring more awareness to the disorder. This thesis will also discuss the positive outlook for selective mutism as there are many different types of treatments and approaches available for helping the child overcome their intense fear of speaking. (Author abstract)