Parent’s question: My 4 year old daughter speaks fluently at home but will shut down and not say a single word at school. Her preschool teachers are concerned because she seems withdrawn. She is social at home and during playdates. I’m not sure why she is not speaking at school. Her teachers are sweet and we are doing everything we can. She does not have autism or any language problems.
Our question: Is she only doing this at preschool?
Parent: Mainly at preschool! In the past she has done this in front of others. For example she freezes at the grocery store when people in line make comments or say hi to her.
Our question: Does she have a shy personality?
Parent: She is very social and not typically shy. It’s like she picks who she is going to speak to. She can be very social or very shy depending on the situation.
Our answer: Your child may have “Selective Mutism.” Children with selective mutism are able to speak but fail to speak in certain situations. Many cases of this disorder are typically undiagnosed. Selective mutism is often associated with anxiety disorders. Many children with this disorder also have other speech or language problems. The exact cause of this disorder is different in each case and sometimes unknown. Your child should be seen by a Speech-Language Pathologist, in addition to the Pediatrician and a Psychologist so the team can come up with a diagnosis and a treatment plan for her. Here are some tips you can share with your daughter’s preschool teachers.
Click HERE to learn more about Selective Mutism.