How Does “Selective Mutism” Affect My Child’s Speech and Language?

by Dulles Moms | October 2, 2017 4:27 pm


Check out more posts from Children's Speech Therapy Center[1]



Children’s Speech Therapy Center[2]


Dear Children’s Speech Therapy Center,

My child was recently diagnosed with “selective mutism” by his psychologist. I am confused about the implications this has for his speech and language?

— Concerned Parent


Dear Concerned Parent,

To better understand what implications this diagnosis has for your child, we must first understand the diagnosis. According to The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.; DSM–5; American Psychiatric Association, 2013), Selective Mutism is a psychiatric condition as a result of which a child is unable to speak in certain situations. For instance, a child may be verbal with you and in your home, but unable to speak in a classroom environment or in an unfamiliar environment.

SM is classified under anxiety disorders, so your child may also experience social phobia and excessive shyness. Receiving an SM diagnosis does not necessarily mean a speech and language disorder is present, but communication disorders may co-exist in addition to your child’s SM diagnosis. To better understand what implications this diagnosis has for your child, we must first understand the diagnosis. According to The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.; DSM–5; American Psychiatric Association, 2013), Selective Mutism is a psychiatric condition as a result of which a child is unable to speak in certain situations. For instance, a child may be verbal with you and in your home, but unable to speak in a classroom environment or in an unfamiliar environment. SM is classified under anxiety disorders, so your child may also experience social phobia and excessive shyness.

Receiving an SM diagnosis does not necessarily mean a speech and language disorder is present, but communication disorders may co-exist in addition to your child’s SM diagnosis.

Speech &Language
It is possible to have selective mutism and a speech and/or language disorder, such as (but not limited to):

• Articulation & Phonological Disorders
• Expressive & Receptive Language
• Fluency Disorders
• Voice Disorders
• Pragmatics Language Disorders

In situations in which speech and/or language delays or disorders are noticed by the parents or teachers, you should contact a certified speech-language pathologist for an evaluation. The speech therapist will work in conjunction with your child’s pediatrician and psychologist or psychiatrist. Your child will continue treatment for psychological causes of SM, while also addressing communication concerns through speech therapy.

What Happens Next?
At the speech and language evaluation, you may come in with concerns for one or more of the areas mentioned above. A speech therapist will complete a dynamic assessment of your child which would include an assessment of oral function (e.g. tongue, lip movement), a series of standardized tests, and informal language sampling (e.g. sequencing, describing pictures, answering questions, etc.). Following a speech and language assessment and a comprehensive parent interview about medical history, a speech therapist will include goals related to your child’s disorder.

Working with a child that has SM in addition to other speech and language disorders will likely prolong the treatment process. Speech therapy sessions will require longer warm-up times, and the speech therapist may be required to address voicing for speech before targeting other speech and language goals; such as making purposeful sounds (i.e. holding out vowels or consonants such as /m/, /n/, /s/) or putting sounds together into words, all while providing a positive environment for your child. Ultimately, working closely with all of your child’s healthcare providers will be instrumental.

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact our office!

— Ioana Barbu, M.A. CCC-SLP[3]


childrens-speech-therapy-center-200[4]

Children’s Speech Therapy Center[5] (CSTC) is a well-known private practice specializing in pediatric speech therapy and conveniently located in Ashburn, VA. When your child needs a speech and language professional, navigating all your options can be time-consuming and frustrating!

Let Children’s Speech Therapy Center[5] help! Their team provides diagnostic and therapeutic services including screenings, evaluations, and therapy for all ages, from infancy to adolescence. From more routine challenges to complex conditions, their team of licensed and accredited speech language pathologists are prepared to help with your child's unique speech and language needs.

Learn more, including what insurances they accept, by connecting: Online[6] | Facebook[7] | Services[8] | FAQs[9] | Contact[10].

Endnotes:
  1. more posts from Children's Speech Therapy Center: http://dullesmoms.com/popular/advice/ask-childrens-speech-therapy-center/#MorePosts
  2. [Image]: http://www.childrens-speech.com/
  3. Ioana Barbu, M.A. CCC-SLP: http://dullesmoms.com/meet-childrens-speech-therapy-center/#IoanaBarbu
  4. [Image]: http://www.childrens-speech.com/
  5. Children’s Speech Therapy Center: http://www.childrens-speech.com/
  6. Online: http://www.childrens-speech.com/
  7. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Childrens-Speech-Therapy-Center-170789496279803/
  8. Services: http://www.childrens-speech.com/services
  9. FAQs: http://www.childrens-speech.com/faqs
  10. Contact: http://www.childrens-speech.com/contact

Source URL: http://dullesmoms.com/selective-mutism/