View Full Version : not really animal related, but...

01-24-2007, 06:43 PM
Okay. So here it is. There's this 'new kid' in one of my classes. He doesn't speak, he's a mute. To communicate, he carries arounda lime green whiteboard. But they say he's a selective or selected mute, what does that mean? does it mean that he chose to be mute? I'm really confused.

01-24-2007, 06:47 PM
It could be his muteness is a result of psychological, not physical impairment.

01-24-2007, 06:57 PM
Selective mutism, formally known as elective mutism, is a disorder of childhood that is characterized by the peristent lack of speech in at least one social situation, despite the ability to speak in other situations.. Onset of selective mutism typically occurs before a child is 5-years-old. However, it is usually first noticed when the child enters school. Specific features of this disorder are described in the 2000 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) (pp.125-127) as follows:
Consistent failure to speak in specific social situations (in which there is an expectation for speaking, e.g., at school) despite speaking in other siturations.
The disturbance interferes with educational or occupational achievement or with social communication.
The duration of the disturbance is at least 1 month (not limited to the first month of school).
The failure to speak is not due to a lack of knowledge of, or comfort with, the spoken language required in the social situation.
The disturbance is not better accounted for by a Communication Disorder (e.g., Stuttering) and does not occur exlusively during the course of a Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Schizophrenia, or othe Psychotic Disorder.

Associated Features and Disorders

A number of different psychological and personality features have been associated with selective mutism (e.g., excessive shyness, fear of social embarrassment, social isolation and withdrawal). Different studies identify different features. Even when a group of children with selective mutism in a particular study shows a tendency toward a particular feature, there are still children in the group who do not display that behavior. It is the persistent failure to speak in particular social situations that is the hallmark of selective mutism. There are different degrees of severity for both verbal and nonverbal communication. The severity also may vary from setting to setting. Children with selective mutism usually do not have speech or language problems; however, an associated communication disorder (e.g., articulation or phonological disorder, receptive or expressive language disorder) may occur. These communication problems though are not the main reason for the mutism.

There are a host of other issues that go along with this disorder. I am glad that you chose to be mature and to learn about it rather than ignore this child, or his affliction.

01-24-2007, 07:42 PM
My niece is a selective mute. She is perfectly capable of speech, except in situations where she is anxious, nervous or intimidated. It is not a choice. She physically looses the ability to speak under stress. She didn't speak in school until this year. She had a friend that she would whisper to and the friend would pass on what Naomi wanted to say. She always talked to people she was comfortable with and developed speech skills on schedule as a toddler. She is extremely intelligent, with a quick mind that is light years ahead of her peers. She reads and writes at a high school level.

She is almost 12 now and is "outgrowing" the condition. Her doctor told us that if she didn't start to speak on her own by puberty, she would require anti-anxiety medication. Naomi will likely always be shy and reserved in new or social settings. She doesn't like large groups, even of people she knows. She is delightful in a one on one setting. Her shyness hides a sharp wit, gift for storytelling and an engaging personality.

01-26-2007, 01:51 PM
thanks for the replies. I feel really bad for him, though. Not all people are taking this the way I am. My friend ran up to me and said,"did you see the MUTE kid? Hannah told me about him....."and the kid was standing RIGHT there! I felt soooo bad!