Friday, June 21, 2024

Is Selective Mutism Considered A Disability

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How Does Mutism Affect People

Selective Mutism Learning Disability

A consistent and unexplained fear of communication with others can have debilitating effects on a human being, irrespective of the age. Not only it discourages a healthy mental and social development, the underlying anxiety and associated fears show in the persons academic and professional performance. They often avoid active participation in activities because that would yield in others focussing their attention on the patient and would most possibly include the patient talking.

Since they are eternally clouded with the fear of being the centre of attraction or in general making mistakes and being noticed, a substantial amount of effort is spent in avoiding such gatherings in general. This in turn gives people an impression that the patient is anti-social and is just segregated from the normal crowd. Growing up in such a tormenting environment, where; every step is pre-calculated owing to unknown fears , snatches away the opportunity from the child of a happy , healthy and normal childhood.

Selective Mutism Classroom Accommodations: What You Need To Know About 504 And Iep

In this post, you will learn about:

  • Why you need an IEP or 504 plan to give your child the best selective mutism classroom accommodations.
  • Which plan is best for selective mutism classroom accommodations.
  • What parents need to know about IEP and 504.
  • How to make selective mutism classroom accommodations actionable.

Selective Mutism In Adults

The world has seen a lot of disabilities in terms of physical ones and also mental disabilities.

Some of these disabilities are well-known for ages but some of these disabilities are rather new.

Language and communication disorders have been classified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Disorders.

They are now classified separately as compared to before when they were under the domain of childhood disorders.

One of the communication disorders which is rather new and rare is known as selective mutism.

We are going to discuss selective mutism in this article. Selective mutism is often considered as a childhood disorder which is true to an extent but it is not always true because adults can also suffer from selective mutism.

It is mainly called so because it is diagnosed in childhood mostly when a child starts going to school.

Not many people know what happens to selective mutism when the child goes into adolescence or becomes an adult.

Selective mutism rarely goes away if it is not treated properly.

People dont just grow out of it because there are many people who are trying to get over it but cant.

Lets discuss complications of selective mutism in adults but before that, we have to know what selective mutism is?

  • What is Selective mutism in adults?

Selective mutism can be defined as a severe anxiety disorder in which a person cannot speak in a specific social situation.

It often starts during childhood years and it can go for long years if not treated properly.

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Sharing Concerns With Parents

If you think that one of your students might have selective mutism, you should share your observations with his parents. What you have to say may come as a shock, since parents are used to their kids being chatty at home and might not have seen the behavior that you are seeing at school. So make your observations specific enough that parents get a clear picture of their childs struggle, and what hes missing out on.

For example: Im really glad he speaks at home, but I want to make sure you know what were seeing at school. Your son comes to circle time, but isnt able to participate. When its his turn to tell us what the weather is, he clams up. He looks like he wants to respond but cant.

Parents might need time to process what you are sharing or want to give the child more time to see if he will become more verbal. These are both totally normal and reasonable reactions. However, if the child continues not making progress and his parents arent being open to what you have to say, you might want to bring in the school psychologist or another member of the school staff or administration who can meet with the parents and discuss again what is happening in the classroom.

Descriptive Diagnostic In Tamarac Florida

Selective mutism[1]

There may be two Social Security benefit programs available to children with Selective Mutism, Childhood Disability Benefit and/or Supplemental Security Income. First, Childhood Disability Benefits are based on a parents work record. The parent must be receiving Social Security Disability Insurance , or Social Security retirement benefits, or the parent is deceased but paid into Social Security through FICA taxes on wages. Second, if the child is determined to be disabled and is determined to be financially needy, the child can qualify for Supplemental Security Income .

For a child, SSI eligibility is primarily based on the parents income, known as deeming of income, where the parents income is deemed to the child for food and shelter. Some parents have too much income for their child, regardless of the severity of the disability, to be found financially needy and disabled. In 2015, the most anyone can receive in SSI from the Federal Government is $733 per month. About 1/3 of the state supplement the Federal SSI payment. Children with Selective Mutism are no different in their needs than other children who may have a different disability.

Contributed by Michael Walling

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Symptoms Of Selective Mutism

Symptoms of SelectiveMutism include temperamental inhibition, social anxiety symptoms, social being,physical symptoms such as tummy ache, nausea, vomiting, joint pains, headaches,chest pain and shortness of breath, appearance of a frozen-looking face,developmental delays, and other common symptoms such as picky eating, bladderissues, sensitivity to crowds, avoiding bright lights, and disliking loud sounds.

You Need An Iep Or 504 Plan To Give Your Child The Best Selective Mutism Classroom Accommodations

;Selective mutism anxiety disorder impacts a child in many different areas:

  • thinking
  • mental health
  • social relationships
  • At home, the child with selective mutism experiences anxiety which manifests in many exhausting behaviors to both the child and the parents.;

    When the child transitions to school, the childs functioning is even more restricted depending on the level of anxiety the child is having. Some of the areas and functioning of a child in a classroom impacted by the selective mutism anxiety disorder are:

    • communication with teachers and peers
    • expressing basic needs
    • eating or drinking in front of others
    • emotional distress from being bottled up most of the time in school
    • self-esteem
    • academic problems
    • participation in after-school activities

    As a mom of a child with selective mutism, I have learned about the impacts of selective mutism on my child first-hand.

    To see your child not being comfortable at school, missing on the communication with friends, unable to be part of clubs and after-school programs, experiencing fear, and being in emotional and physical discomfort is something no parent wishes for their child.

    This is the reason why parents need to consider all the support systems that are available at the level of the school district.

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    My Child Won’t Talk At School

    Selective mutism is often noticed between ages two to four when your child starts preschool, or is otherwise put into new social situations.;More common in girls, its also often seen in children who have recently moved to a new country where they must speak a language other than their maternal tongue. ;;

    Note that in some cases of selective mutism a child still uses simple words, sounds or gestures. But it is far from their usual language competence.;

    Childhood Anxiety Disorder In Tamarac Florida

    How Shy Is Too Shy? Identifying Selective Mutism and Social Anxiety

    All too often, children experiencing Selective Mutism are evaluated and placed into special education programs in public schools. It is assumed by Special Education school staff that these children will fare better in classrooms containing fewer students and more individual attention. It is on rare occasion that a Selectively Mute student will benefit from a special education setting.

    Unfortunately, the majority of children who have been placed in Special Education can be found in programs for the Emotionally Disturbed and/or the Speech/Language Impaired. Many professionals fail to recognize that Selective Mutism is not linked to anything else. Selective Mutism is not a Learning disability, Emotional disturbance, nor a Speech/Language impairment. A Selectively Mute student who displays any of these conditions would then have an additional and separate education need.

    In most cases, placement into Special Education settings has been ineffective or damaging, particularly with the Emotionally Disturbed program. As public schools generally do not have much information on how to help these children, special education teachers are no more equipped to assist these students than the general education teachers.

    Professionals need to understand that Selective Mutism, like Tourette syndrome or Attention Deficit Disorder, can be dealt with in General Education classrooms by implementing a behavioral management plan.


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    What Does Selective Mutism Feel Like

    The therapist working with our child often uses the term bottled up to describe how kids with selective mutism feel.

    I think its a great description of the childs condition. Imagine not speaking for most of your day when you are at work or in any other social setting. Then you will soon realize that you end up with the whole spectrum of emotions stuck inside so that once you have a chance to talk about them,;it comes out as anger and frustration.

    Get all the information important for a parent in one place Selective Mutism Parents Guide.

    Find Your Voice Again

    Selective mutism treatment at Harley Therapy connects you with our team of highly experienced psychiatrists, child and educational psychologists, and psychotherapists, hand selected for their commitment and expertise.

    Thank you for your submitted form!



    If you are a journalist writing about this subject, do get in touch – we may be able to comment or provide a pull quote from a professional therapist.

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    Is Selective Mutism A Rare Genetic Anxiety Disorder

    According to the;National Organization for Rare Disorders, selective mutism is rare since its found in less than 1% of children. Like any other mental condition ,;selective mutism is categorized as a mental illness. It is not a choice an individual makes about speaking or not speaking.;

    The exact;cause of selective mutism is unknown, and the research in selective mutism mentions a plethora of conditions and predispositions that cause selective mutism in a child. Among those conditions are genetic influence, environmental factors, personal and family characteristics, and many others.

    Since the research on selective mutism is scarce, its generally accepted that;selective mutism causes are relatively unknown and hard to pinpoint.

    Children affected by selective mutism display anxiety disorder in various ways: some children have more severe symptoms, others have mild symptoms.

    Even though the;causes of selective mutism are not due to the underlying physical abnormality, selective mutism is considered to be a;disability;since it is characterized as a persistent failure to speak in certain social situations where speaking is expected.

    When undiagnosed and/ or untreated, selective mutism can culminate in other debilitating conditions and consequences such as:

  • Worsening anxiety
  • Drugs or alcohol abuse
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Diagnosis Of Selective Mutism

    Selective Mutism In Our Own Words

    The diagnostic criteria for selective mutism are:

    • Consistent failure to speak in specific social situations , despite speaking fluently in other situations.
    • The mutism interferes with educational or occupational achievement or with social communication.
    • The duration of the disturbance is at least one month .
    • 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 accounted for by a communication disorder and does not occur exclusively during the course of a pervasive developmental disorder .

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    Selective Mutism Symptoms And Behaviors That Prevent A Child From Functioning Normally

    While each child with selective mutism has a unique profile of functioning and emotions, certain behaviors and symptoms are common to all children with selective mutism.

    Ruth Perednick succinctly explains that one thing is almost always the case with a child who is not speaking in kindergarten or school: a child with selective mutism suffers. He cannot be himself the more spontaneous, communicative child he is in other contexts *

    Some other selective mutism symptoms are:

    1. Being uncomfortable to be introduced, teased, or criticized

    2. Perfectionism

    3. Embarrassment to eat in front of others

    4. Defiance

    11. Assertiveness and domineering behavior at home

    12. Mood swings

    14. Lack of eye contact when feeling anxious

    15. Easily frustrated by school work;

    16. Stubbornness

    17. Inflexible

    18. Procrastination when doing homework

    It is essential to know that most often a childs with selective mutism displays behaviors and attitudes that come as a consequence of the constant energy expenditure required to ensure no one encroaches their private space.

    In other words, a bottled up child often comes home and finally expresses his frustration through tantrums, crying, or any other behaviors a child with selective mutism tends to show.;

    When my daughter was diagnosed with selective mutism, I would often notice the tantrum-prone hours of the day were more and more regular.

    After returning home from her Pre-K , my child would have mood swings, be stubborn, cry, hit, have tantrums.

    Low And High Profile Selective Mutism

    High profile:This is when the child is totally silent with certain people in certain situations.

    Low profile:This is when the child may manage to speak a little when this is absolutely necessary and when the fear of disapproval outweighs the fear of talking. There is however usually no spontaneous communication with adults.

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    Treating Speech Or Hearing Disorders

    If SM is found to be part of an issue relating to a speech or hearing disorder, then the underlying condition should be addressed.;

    Hearing loss is a common developmental disability, where in 2010 1.3% of eight-year olds were affectedSource:

    Any social issues can then be addressed with the appropriate form of speech therapy. Once the initial physical cause has been removed, then progress is typically rapid.;

    How Does Selective Mutism Impact A Child Emotionally

    What is selective mutism? | Jade’s Mental Health Story | Mind

    Finally, the most devastating impact of selective mutism disability is on childs emotions.

    Being a mom of a 4-year-old with selective mutism , I have come to learn that a childs social and emotional development is the backbone of any success in life.

    Since I learned about social-emotional development myself, I attribute a huge portion of success in my childs treatment of selective mutism to addressing emotions:

    • teaching feelings
    • teaching how to talk about feelings
    • teaching how emotions impact behavior
    • teaching self-regulation
    • teaching social awareness
    • troubleshooting anger, moodiness, frustration

    Addressing a childs emotional development and well-being does not stop when the child leaves home. A school is a primary place where a teacher can use selective mutism intervention strategies and techniques to ensure a child is understood and supported in academic development.

    Building self-esteem, a sense of belonging, and worthiness for a child with selective mutism is vital in tackling their anxiety.;

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    Signs Of Selective Mutism

    Selective mutism anxiety research has shown the diagnostic criteria for selective mutism as laid out by the DSM, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders :

    • Not speaking in certain settings. During school lessons is common or when they can be overheard in public in general.
    • Social isolation.
    • Speaking normally in situations where they feel comfortable. This can be when they’re alone with parents at home, for example.
    • The childs inability to speak to certain people has lasted for at least 1 month .
    • The inability to speak interferes with their ability to function in that particular setting.
    • The inability to speak is not better explained by another communicational, behavioral, or mental disorder.

    Affected children may also show some typical behavioral strategies. It is possible that the child develops separation anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or signs of low self-esteem as a response to anxiety .;

    Risk factors are common, such as suddenly being confronted with unexpected social settings. The childs facial expression may freeze. This mask-like appearance is typical of children with selective mutism.;

    If the child is with parents and suddenly triggered, the child may become unusually clingy, show social phobia, even hiding behind the parents to avoid the situation.;

    Selective Mutism And Autism: A Better Understanding

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    There is still a lot to learn and uncover about selective mutism and autism, and there are even more misconceptions needed to be straightened up.

    Unfortunately, even in the digital age of massive information sharing, there are still concepts essential to promote neurodiversity that a lot of us simply dont understand.

    In this light, we seek to provide a basic understanding of selective mutism and autism.

    We seek to define both terms and answer the most frequently asked questions surrounding these conditions.

    That way, we can tell them apart and have an idea of what to do and when to seek help.

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    How Can Mutism Be Categorized

    Mutism can be broadly categorized in terms of the type of factors that incite it in patients namely Neurologically based and psychologically based.

    Neurologically based mutism: The type of mutism which is caused by physical impairment of brain or speech motor system due to a multitude of reasons including birth defects, accidents, head or neck injuries, strokes or Parkinsons Disease.; A bilateral damage to the frontal lobe of the brain which renders the patient unable to move the Akinesia causes the Akinetic Mutism. Here, along with speech, other abilities such as motor control, arousal etc is also similarly impaired.

    Another related type of mutism is prevalent in autistic children, where the child faces immense difficulty in developing normal speech patterns due to delayed development of social skills. There also exists Dyslalialic Mutism or muteness caused by deafness where damage to the larynx damages the vocal chords or in general, since the patient is not able to hear words he/she is unable to produce matching sounds to communicate.; For communicating with such patients, sign language is necessary.

    In older patients it is mostly caused by a traumatic event that has resulted in severe mental alterations within the patients.

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