Selective mutism (SM) is a rare and complex disorder associated with anxiety symptoms and speech-language deficits; however, the nature of these language deficits has not been studied systematically. A novel cross-disciplinary assessment protocol was used to assess anxiety and nonverbal cognitive, receptive language, and expressive narrative abilities in 7 children with SM and a comparison group of 7 children with social phobia (SP). The children with SM produced significantly shorter narratives than children with SP, despite showing normal nonverbal cognitive and receptive language abilities. The findings suggest that SM may involve subtle expressive language deficits that may influence academic performance and raise additional questions for further research. The assessment procedure developed for this study may be potentially useful for language clinicians.
Key Words: selective mutism, anxiety, language ability, expressive narrative skills
Submitted on July 10, 2003
Revised on January 15, 2004
Accepted on July 28, 2004
This article has been cited by other articles:
E. R. Klein, S. L. Armstrong, and E. Shipon-Blum
Assessing Spoken Language Competence in Children With Selective Mutism: Using Parents as Test Presenters
Communication Disorders Quarterly, May 1, 2013; 34(3): 184 - 195.