Is selective mutism a form of autism?

Selective mutism is a disorder which you can say an anxiety disorder. It characterized by an inability of speaking in a specific situation to specific people due to nervousness or anxiety.

selective mutism a form of autism

Whereas autism is a developmental disorder. Trouble in social interaction and communication, and natural behavior during early childhood. Although the two have many similarities, it is crucial to know whether selective mutism a form of autism.

If you need more information or you have a question regarding Mutism or Autism, you can discuss it with our HearingSol healthcare professionals, just give us a call on +91-9327901950. We are always here to help you.

Mutism a form of autism?

To clarify, the first point it is not necessary for all people with selective mutism have ASD and vice versa. A child with selective mutism is different from one with autism.

To illustrate, selective mutism kids can expertly communicate in comfortable situations with a range of emotions but when they feel uncomfortable they became mute.

By the same token, people with autism have a qualitative difference in social interaction even if they’re in comfortable settings or not. They are usually struggling with social imagination so they can often misinterpret or misunderstand information.

Certainly, kids with autism are not thinking or feeling the same as a child with selective mutism. A child with Mutism always has fear of judging or embarrassing which doesn’t happen in autism.

So, in this case, selective mutism, one of the common co-morbid disorders with AS. And many others like agoraphobia, social anxiety disorder, depression, sensory processing disorder, and auditory processing disorder, etc.

Autism is a lifelong biological disorder while selective mutism is a severe anxiety disorder or communication disorder. It can be a defeat or at least can be reduced in severity.

For most with selective mutism, the disorder existing during infancy, though some consider they had it since birth, which is slightly similar to ASD.

Interestingly enough, the diagnostic procedure recommended for selective mutism is exactly working in the same approach for kids with autism spectrum i.e ABA (applied behavior analysis).

In some cases, selective mutism patients have been misdiagnosed with ASD and therefore have received irrelevant or incorrect treatment. Early and proper behavioral Interventions and school-based accommodations can help kids with public speaking and overcome social anxiety.

Facts about selective mutism child

Following are some common facts about selective mutism child:

  • Have the deep dark secret:- It is commonly assumed that children with selective mutism are not speaking because something really bad happened to the child.
  • Have a speech problem:- Some kids with selective mutism have speech and language problems, however, many do not. It is difficult to understand the relationship between speech and language problems and selective mutism because it is difficult to assess a child that does not speak to unfamiliar adults.
  • It is also a form of autism:- Some people confuse selective mutism with autism, but it is important to know that they are not the same disorder. Both may appear to be similar. Children with selective mutism feel anxious, lack of eye contact, a blank expression, and a lack of verbal communication, etc.

The indication of Selective Mutism

If your child suffering from selective mutism notice these indications

  • Your child will not communicate with others except you.
  • Not interested in speaking at public places such as schools.
  • May have an anxiety disorder.
  • Alteration in the behavior of your child from a long period of time.

Child develop selective mutism

Children with Selective Mutism often have severely inhibited nature. Studies show that individuals with inhibited nature are more prone to anxiety than those without shy nature. Children with selective mutism have Sensory Processing Disorder (DSI) which means they have trouble in processing specific sensory information. Example: sensitive to sounds, lights, touch, taste, and smells, etc.

Characteristics of children with selective mutism

Following are some characteristics:-

  • Behavioral
  • Difficulties in communications
  • Appearance
  • Temperamental Inhibition
  • Developmental delay
  • Emotional


Selective mutism varies from kid to kid. The concerned doctor may suggest medication which will be beneficial for some kids. Help your child in your way

  • Stimulus fading: Your child will talk to you or anyone with whom your child is comfortable. Introduce the new person which slowly joins the conversations daily for a couple of minutes.
  • Self-modeling: May your child like to watch videos alone. Do let your child watch your videos it will enhance the speaking of your child.
  • Shaping: In this, you should reward your child for communicating. At first, your child may use hand gestures than the mouth and so on. It will help you in some way.

Read also: What could cause selective mutism?

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