Selective Mutism

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

Abstract

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).

Keywords

Placebo Depression Europe Serotonin Stein 

References

  1. American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed. text revision). Washington: Author.Google Scholar
  2. Anstendig, K. D. (1999). Is selective mutism an anxiety disorder? Rethinking its DSM-IV classification. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 13, 417–434.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Arie, M., Henkin, Y., Lamy, D., Tetin-Schneider, S., Apter, A., Sadeh, A., et al. (2007). Reduced auditory processing capacity during vocalization in children with selective mutism. Biological Psychiatry, 61, 419–421.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baskind, S. (2007). A behavioural intervention for selective mutism in an eight-year-old boy. Educational and Child Psychology, 24, 87–94.Google Scholar
  5. Beare, P., Torgerson, C., & Creviston, C. (2008). Increasing verbal behavior of a student who is selectively mute. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 16, 248–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bergman, R. L., Piacentini, J., & McCracken, J. T. (2002). Prevalence and description of selective mutism in a school-based study. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 41, 938–946.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Black, B., & Uhde, T. W. (1994). Treatment of elective mutism with fluoxetine: A double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 33, 1000–1006.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Blum, N. J., Kell, R. S., Starr, L., Lender, W. L., Bradley-Klug, K. L., Osborne, M. L., et al. (1998). Case study: Audio feedforward treatment of selective mutism. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 37, 40–43.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Carlson, J. S., Kratochwill, T. R., & Johnston, H. F. (1994). Prevalence and treatment of selective mutism: A survey of child psychiatrists. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, 4, 281–291.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Carlson, J. S., Mitchell, A. D., & Segool, N. (2008). The current state of empirical support for the pharmacological treatment of selective mutism. School Psychology Quarterly, 23, 354–372.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chavira, D. A., Stein, M. B., Bailey, K., & Stein, M. T. (2004). Child anxiety in primary care: Prevalent but untreated. Depression and Anxiety, 20, 155–164.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cohan, S. L., Chavira, D. A., Shipon-Blum, E., Hitchcock, C., Roesch, S. C., & Stein, M. B. (2008). Refining the classification of children with selective mutism: A latent profile analysis. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 37, 770–784.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cohan, S. L., Chavira, D. A., & Stein, M. B. (2006). Practitioner review: Psychosocial interventions for children with selective mutism: A critical evaluation of the literature from 1990-2005. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 47, 1085–1097.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Cohan, S. L., Price, J. M., & Stein, M. B. (2006). Suffering in silence: Why a developmental psychopathology perspective on selective mutism is needed. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 27, 341–355.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Cunningham, C. E., Cataldo, M. F., Mallion, C., & Keyes, J. B. (1983). A review and controlled single case evaluation of behavioral approaches to the management of elective mutism. Child and Family Behavior Therapy, 5, 25–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Cunningham, C. E., McHolm, A. E., & Boyle, M. H. (2006). Social phobia, anxiety, oppositional behavior, social skills, and self-concept in children with specific selective mutism, generalized selective mutism, and community controls. European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 15, 245–255.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Cunningham, C. E., McHolm, A., Boyle, M. H., & Patel, S. (2004). Behavioral and emotional adjustment, family functioning, academic performance, and social relationships in children with selective mutism. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 45, 1363–1372.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Dow, S. P., Sonies, B. C., Scheib, D., Moss, S. E., & Leonard, H. L. (1995). Practical guidelines for the assessment and treatment of selective mutism. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 34, 836–846.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Dummit, E. S., Klein, R. G., Tancer, N. K., Asche, B., & Martin, J. (1996). Fluoxetine treatment of children with selective mutism: An open trial. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 35, 615–621.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Elizur, Y., & Perednik, R. (2003). Prevalence and description of selective mutism in immigrant and native families: A controlled study. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 42, 1451–1459.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Facon, B., Sahiri, S., & Riviere, V. (2008). A controlled single-case treatment of severe long-term selective mutism in a child with mental retardation. Behavior Therapy, 39, 313–321.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Fisak, B. J., Oliveros, A., & Ehrenreich, J. T. (2006). Assessment and behavioral treatment of selective mutism. Clinical Case Studies, 5, 382–402.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Fung, D. S. S., Manassis, K., Kenny, A., & Fiksenbaum, L. (2002). Web-based CBT for selective mutism. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 41, 112–113.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Garcia-Lopez, L.-J., Olivares, J., Beidel, D., Albano, A. M., Turner, S., & Rosa, A. I. (2006). Efficacy of three treatment protocols for adolescents with social anxiety disorder: A 5-year follow-up assessment. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 20, 175–191.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Jackson, M. F., Allen, R. S., Boothe, A. B., Nava, M. L., & Coates, A. (2005). Innovative analyses and interventions in the treatment of selective mutism. Clinical Case Studies, 4, 81–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kearney, C.A. (2010). Helping children with selective mutism and reluctance to speak: A guide for school-based professionals. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Kearney, C. A., & Vecchio, J. L. (2007). When a child won’t speak. Journal of Family Practice, 56, 917–921.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Kearney, C. A., Wechsler, A., Kaur, H., & Lemos-Miller, A. (2010). Posttraumatic stress disorder in maltreated youth: A synopsis of contemporary research and thought. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 13(1), 46–76.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Keen, D. V., Fonseca, S., & Wintgens, A. (2008). Selective mutism: A consensus based care pathway of good practice. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 93, 838–844.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kehle, T. J., Madaus, M. R., Baratta, V. S., & Bray, M. A. (1998). Augmented self-modeling as a treatment for children with selective mutism. Journal of School Psychology, 36, 247–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kristensen, H. (2000). Selective mutism and comorbidity with developmental disorder/delay, anxiety disorder, and elimination disorder. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 39, 249–256.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kristensen, H., & Oerbeck, B. (2006). Is selective mutism associated with deficits in memory span and visual memory? An exploratory case-control study. Depression and Anxiety, 23, 71–76.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Krysanski, V. (2003). A brief review of selective mutism literature. Journal of Psychology, 137, 29–40.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kumpulainen, K. (2002). Phenomenology and treatment of selective mutism. CNS Drugs, 16, 175–180.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Manassis, K. (2009). Silent suffering: Understanding and treating children with selective mutism. Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics, 9, 235–243.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Manassis, K., Fung, D., Tannock, R., Sloman, L., Fiksenbaum, L., & McInnes, A. (2003). Characterizing selective mutism: Is it more than social anxiety? Depression and Anxiety, 18, 153–161.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Manassis, K., & Tannock, R. (2008). Comparing interventions for selective mutism: A pilot study. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 53, 700–703.Google Scholar
  38. McHolm, A. E., Cunningham, C. E., & Vanier, M. K. (2005). Helping your child with selective mutism: Practical steps to overcome a fear of speaking. Oakland: New Harbinger.Google Scholar
  39. Mendlowitz, S. L., & Monga, S. (2007). Unlocking speech where there is none: Practical approaches to treatment of selective mutism. Behavior Therapist, 30, 11–15.Google Scholar
  40. O’Reilly, M., McNally, D., Sigafoos, J., Lancioni, G. E., Green, V., Edrisinha, C., et al. (2008). Examination of a social problem-solving intervention to treat selective mutism. Behavior Modification, 32, 182–195.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Remschmidt, H., Poller, M., Herpertz-Dahlmann, B., Hennighausen, K., & Gutenbrunner, C. (2001). A follow-up study of 45 patients with elective mutism. European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, 251, 284–296.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Rye, M. S., & Ullman, D. (1999). The successful treatment of long-term selective mutism: A case study. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 30, 313–323.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Sharkey, L., & McNicholas, F. (2008). More than 100 years of silence, elective mutism: A review of the literature. European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 17, 255–263.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Sharkey, L., McNicholas, F., Barry, E., Begley, M., & Ahern, S. (2008). Group therapy for selective mutism – A parents’ and children’s treatment group. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 39, 538–545.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Sharp, W. G., Sherman, C., & Gross, A. M. (2007). Selective mutism and anxiety: A review of the current conceptualization of the disorder. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 21, 568–579.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Steinhausen, H.-C., & Juzi, C. (1996). Elective mutism: An analysis of 100 cases. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 35, 606–614.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Steinhausen, H.-C., Wachter, M., Laimbock, K., & Metzke, C. W. (2006). A long-term outcome study of selective mutism in childhood. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 47, 751–756.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Stone, B. P., Kratochwill, T. R., Sladeczek, I., & Serlin, R. C. (2002). Treatment of selective mutism: A best-evidence synthesis. School Psychology Quarterly, 17, 168–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Suveg, C., Comer, J. S., Furr, J. M., & Kendall, P. C. (2006). Adapting manualized CBT for a cognitively delayed child with multiple anxiety disorders. Clinical Case Studies, 5, 488–510.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Vecchio, J. L., & Kearney, C. A. (2005). Selective mutism in children: Comparison to youths with and without anxiety disorders. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 27, 31–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Vecchio, J., & Kearney, C. A. (2007). Assessment and treatment of a Hispanic youth with selective mutism. Clinical Case Studies, 6, 34–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Vecchio, J., & Kearney, C. A. (2009). Treating youths with selective mutism with an alternating design of exposure-based practice and contingency management. Behavior Therapy, 40(4), 380–392.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Viana, A. G., Beidel, D. C., & Rabian, B. (2009). Selective mutism: A review and integration of the last 15 years. Clinical Psychology Review, 29, 57–67.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Yeganeh, R., Beidel, D. C., & Turner, S. M. (2006). Selective mutism: More than social anxiety? Depression and Anxiety, 23, 117–123.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

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

Personalised recommendations