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Current Challenges in the Diagnosis and Management of Selective Mutism in Children

Authors Muris P, Ollendick TH

Received 27 December 2020

Accepted for publication 3 February 2021

Published 16 February 2021 Volume 2021:14 Pages 159—167

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/PRBM.S274538

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Igor Elman


Peter Muris,1,2 Thomas H Ollendick3,4

1Department of Clinical Psychological Sciences, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, Maastricht University, Maastricht, the Netherlands; 2Departement Sielkunde, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa; 3Department of Psychology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA, USA; 4Department of Psychology, University of Roehampton London, London, UK

Correspondence: Peter Muris
Department of Clinical Psychological Sciences, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, Maastricht University, P.O. Box 616, Maastricht, 6200 MD, The Netherlands
Email peter.muris@maastrichtuniversity.nl

Abstract: Selective mutism (SM) is a childhood disorder characterized by a consistent failure to speak in specific social situations (eg, school) despite speaking normally in other settings (eg, at home). This article summarizes evidence supporting the recent classification of SM as an anxiety disorder and discusses the implications of this re-classification for the assessment and treatment of SM in clinical practice. Meanwhile, clinicians should also realize that SM sometimes is a heterogeneous disorder in which other problems are also present that complicate the management of children with SM. As examples, we discuss speech and language problems, developmental delay, and autism spectrum disorders.

Keywords: selective mutism, anxiety disorder, assessment, treatment

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