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Essay about Selective Mutism in Adolescents

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Selective Mutism in Adolescents As the makeup of students in classrooms change and general education teachers are educating a range of students with diverse needs, new learning barriers are becoming prominent in American classrooms. One of these learning disabilities that is emerging is a language disorder called selective mutism. Selective mutism is defined as a language disorder in which individuals who exhibit normal language skills with no delays in daily home situations are unwilling or unable to speak when confronted with novel situations or people. This disorder, when presented in classrooms, can affect both the social and the academic progress of the student. When considering students who exhibit symptoms of selective mutism,…show more content…
Psychodynamic theorists believe that selective mutism is a choice made by the child to have power over a certain part of their life. This could be a way for the child to assert control in response to a fight with a parent. These theorists believe that children with selective mutism chose not to speak in public to maintain their power, despite having the ability to speak. Researches emphasize the idea that children often continue this relationship with new individuals who can remove this power, such as a new teacher. Differing from psychodynamic theorists, behaviorists believe that children have been taught to use silence to help control the anxiety that they might feel. For example, if a child is uncomfortable in a certain situation, chooses not to speak, and has reduced anxiety, they have learned that silence is an effective tool (Busse & Downey, 2011). . Selective mutism was first diagnosed by Adolf Kussmaul in the 1800s. The named it aphasia voluntaria to emphasize the idea that individuals made a voluntary decision to maintain silence (Busse & Downey, 2011). In time, this original name became “elective mutism”. This new name reflected that the individual chose the environment in which they would speak. Once again, the name of the disorder was changed to become “selective mutism”. The current name of the disorder shows that the individual’s ability to speak is not about choice, but about
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