The Age Of Onset Of Selective Mutism

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Age of Onset There are some professionals who have reported that the age of onset of selective mutism typically occurs between ages three and six. A diagnosis of SM can occur anywhere between the ages of five and eight; most often when the child enters school (Sharp, Sherman, Gross, 2007). Gender Differences Selective Mutism seems to be slightly more common in girls than in boys. This may be due to cultural upbringings. The differences may be accounted for in research limitations due to the rarity of the disorder and/or sample size of the population (Krysanski, 2003; Sharp, Sherman, Gross, 2007). When a child is affected suffers from SM the disorder can occur anywhere from a few months, or can persist for several years. It is known for a majority of selectively mute children to outgrow the disorder spontaneously for unknown reasons (Krysanski, 2003; Sharp, Sherman, Gross, 2007). Cultural Differences Children of families who have immigrated to a country where a different language is spoken can later suffer from SM. These children refuse to speak the new language because of lack of knowledge about the language. If the child has adequate comprehension of the new language, but is refusing to speak and is persistent, a diagnosis of SM may be warranted. Issues Pertaining to Diagnosis Selective Mutism Classification There are various views of how or under where Selective Mutism should be classified. Some believed that SM should be classified under social anxiety, although there were those who disagreed because SM children scored lover on the Social Phobia and Anxiety Inventory (SPAIK) compared to children who had social phobia (Wong, 2010). Others think that SM should be classified under social phobia because it relates to prognosi... ... middle of paper ... ...Developmental Psychopathology Theory The framework of developmental psychopathology is a relatively new and integrated hypothesis for SM (Wong, 2010). Developmental psychotherapy framework “emphasizes that multiple contextual variables interact with potential anxious predispositions in children with selective mutism” (Viana, Beidel , & Rabian, 2009). The theory also notes that children who have speech and language deficits that are unaware of their condition enter school and are teased by those who have no speech or language impediments. Children with anxious predispositions are the ones who are affected. As a result of the teasing children with anxiety predisposition ignite a pattern of avoidance and resultant mutism (Wong, 2010). “The developmental psychopathology approach conceptualizes selective mutism as an avoidant behavior rather than a disorder” (Wong, 2010).

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