How to Treat Selective Mutism
Selective mutism, a psychiatric disorder, is found mostly in children and is illustrated by an inability to speak in specific social situations.
Children with selective mutism can speak but don’t because of social anxiety. These children usually function normally in most other aspects of their lives.
4 Steps to Treat Selective Mutism
1. Search out a therapist specifically trained in childhood anxiety conditions.
Expect a complete assessment of issues including a mental health history. The history should include any circumstances that occured around the time your child stopped speaking, the duration of the mutism and what happened after the child didn’t speak. Motor skills and social development are assessed as well.
2. Plan on having your child and family participate in therapy.
The therapy helps with learning new ways to communicate and positive ways to deal with anxious behavior and tension.
3. Become knowledgeable about the disorder and its treatment.
Successful short-term therapy can reduce your child’s fears and return to normal functioning. Lowering anxiety, increasing confidence, enhancing communication skills and raising self esteem are the focus of treatment.
4. Follow your child’s individualized treatment plan and make sure that you allow him to play an active part in the process.
In most cases, a mixture of behavioral, cognitive and family therapy facilitates the treatment process.
Avoid having expectations for verbalization in the beginning of therapy. As the child builds confidence and her anxiety diminishes, talking likely will follow.
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