Selective mutism (formerly known as elective mutism) usually happens during childhood. A child with selective mutism does not speak in certain situations, like at school, but speaks at other times, like at home or with friends. Selective mutism often starts before a child is 5 years old and is usually first noticed when the child starts school. A child with selective mutism should be seen by a speech-language pathologist (SLP), in addition to a pediatrician and a psychologist or psychiatrist. These professionals will work as a team with teachers, family, and the individual. The type of intervention offered by an SLP may include a combination of strategies depending on individual needs. The SLP may create a behavioral treatment program, focus on specific speech and language problems, and/or work in the child's classroom with teachers.
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