What is Selective Mutism?

Selective Mutism is a childhood anxiety disorder that is defined by consistent failure to speak in social situations in which there is an expectation for speaking, despite speaking in other situations. Children are often unable to speak in social situations like school classrooms or the playground, and with certain people, such as their teacher, grandparents, sports coach or peers. It often interferes with educational and occupational achievement or with social communication. The inability to speak is not associated with lack of knowledge, or comfort, with the spoken language required in the social situation, but understood as an anxiety disorder.