Selective Mutism

  • Christopher A. Kearney
  • Courtney Haight
  • Timothy L. Day


Selective mutism is a persistent and debilitating condition in which a child fails to speak in public situations where speaking is expected. Children with selective mutism often speak well in familiar situations such as home but do not speak to people in public situations such as parks, shopping malls, restaurants, and school. Failure to speak must last at least 1 month. A diagnosis of selective mutism does not generally apply to youths with a communication disorder such as stuttering or to youths who lack comfort or knowledge with the primary language spoken in public situations (American Psychiatric Association, 2000). Selective mutism thus does not generally apply to new immigrants or to youths whose parents are non-English speakers, though prevalence of selective mutism among established immigrants may be elevated compared with the general population (Elizur & Perednik, 2003; Krysanski, 2003; Vecchio & Kearney, 2007).


Social Anxiety Social Anxiety Disorder Contingency Management Social Skill Training Selective Mutism 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher A. Kearney
    • 1
  • Courtney Haight
  • Timothy L. Day
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Nevada, Las VegasLas VegasUSA

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