Literature Review Project.Assignment must comply with APA 7t…

Literature Review Project. Assignment must comply with APA 7th edition written standards: (Times new roman, font #12 and double space) In addition, please add the following to the First page: -Tittle: Selective Mutism disorder -Class: Human and growth and development -Professor: Rafael Ramos, MS -School: Florida National University -Date (November 2020) The following pages please include: – Abstract -Selective Mutism Disorder -Symptoms -Diagnostic criteria -Treatment plans -Prevention and tips -Prognosis -Conclusion -References

Title: Selective Mutism Disorder


Selective Mutism (SM) is a childhood anxiety disorder characterized by the consistent inability to speak in specific social situations, despite having the ability to speak in other settings. This literature review aims to provide an overview of the current understanding of SM, including its symptoms, diagnostic criteria, treatment plans, prevention strategies, and prognosis.

Selective Mutism Disorder

Selective Mutism Disorder is a relatively rare condition that typically emerges during early childhood and can persist into adolescence or adulthood if left untreated. It is estimated to affect approximately 0.5 to 1% of the general population (Kearney, 2010). SM is often misinterpreted as shyness or stubbornness, but it is important to understand that it is a legitimate psychiatric disorder that requires intervention.


The core symptom of SM is the consistent failure to speak in specific social situations, such as school or public places, where speaking is expected. However, individuals with SM are capable of speaking normally in other settings, such as within the comfort of their own home. They may exhibit excessive anxiety or fear when faced with the need to speak in certain situations, which can lead to avoidant behaviors, such as freezing, clinging to a caregiver, or hiding.

Diagnostic Criteria

To meet the diagnostic criteria for SM outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), the following criteria must be met:

1. Consistent failure to speak in specific social situations (e.g., school) where speaking is expected, despite speaking in other settings.
2. The disturbance interferes with educational or occupational achievement or social communication.
3. The duration of the disturbance is at least one month (excluding the first month of school).
4. The failure to speak is not due to language barriers or lack of knowledge.

It is crucial to differentiate SM from other conditions that can cause children to be selectively mute, such as hearing impairment or language disorders. A comprehensive assessment is necessary to rule out other potential causes.

Treatment Plans

Early intervention is crucial in treating SM and preventing the disorder from negatively impacting a child’s social, emotional, and academic development. The most effective treatment approach for SM is a multimodal intervention that combines behavioral, cognitive-behavioral, and psychopharmacological treatments.

Behavioral interventions focus on gradually exposing the child to feared social situations and rewarding any attempts at speaking. This approach helps the child build confidence and overcome anxiety through a systematic desensitization process. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can also be utilized to target maladaptive thoughts and beliefs associated with speaking.

In some cases, medication may be prescribed to help manage underlying anxiety or other comorbid conditions. The use of medication should be carefully considered and monitored, as it is not the sole treatment modality for SM.

Prevention and Tips

While the exact cause of SM is not fully understood, it is believed to be influenced by a combination of genetic, biological, and environmental factors. There is no guaranteed method of preventing SM, but early identification and intervention can significantly improve outcomes. Educating parents, teachers, and healthcare professionals about the early signs of SM and the importance of early intervention can be beneficial.


With appropriate treatment, the prognosis for children with SM is generally positive. However, the duration and severity of the disorder can vary among individuals. Factors such as early intervention, individualized treatment plans, and family support contribute to a more favorable prognosis. Long-term follow-up and ongoing support are essential to ensure sustained improvement and to address any emerging challenges.


Selective Mutism Disorder is a complex childhood anxiety disorder characterized by a consistent inability to speak in specific social situations. Effective treatment strategies involve a multimodal approach that includes behavioral, cognitive-behavioral, and sometimes pharmacological interventions. Early identification, intervention, and ongoing support are key components in managing this disorder and promoting positive outcomes for affected individuals.


Kearney, C. A. (2010). Selective Mutism in DSM-5: An introduction and brief overview. School Psychology Forum, 4(2), 1-5.