Selective Mutism – Freezing with Speech Anxiety
Does your child appear to be shy, but you have a feeling that it is more than shyness? You may have actually observed her freezing up and not being able to speak in certain situations or with specific people even though they have an adequate ability to speak and also have appropriate language skills to make sentences. This is selective mutism. Selective mutism is a specific fear of talking; the current belief is that it is an anxiety-based disorder. Therefore, a team including a psychologist or psychiatrist and a speech pathologist often work together with the client and family to improve skills. The school situation is one of the most challenging for them.
The main goal for therapy is for the individual who has selective mutism to be able to expand the number of people they are able to talk with and to increase the variety of situations or environments in which they are more comfortable interacting. It is important to address these issues in a behavioral-communication therapy format. A few of the things that we might target as smaller short-term goals include:
• The individual’s awareness of their difficulty.
• A hierarchy of situations and people that are difficulty difficult for them to interact with and work toward the individual be able to progress with these challenges.
• Verbal processing speed and flexibility of responding in different ways.
• Active listening and a stronger grounding in conversation skills.
• Attention and timing.
• Self-calming techniques.
• Reading others non-verbal clues and giving non-verbal feedback to others.
• Family education and assistance with interacting.
• Social courage.
Dr. Parker has experience working with individuals with the unique disorder of Selective Mutism. Call The Brain Trainer today (704-541-1373) to start your evaluation.