Some (but not all) cases of selective mutism can resolve spontaneously and these children will eventually start talking in those situations where they had been mute. If this does happen, it is usually in preschool or in the first year of school. It is difficult to distinguish those cases that may resolve spontaneously from those that won’t, although an important factor appears to be how well the child’s parents and teachers intuitively help the child to gradually face their fear of communicating, without placing too much pressure on them to do so. If the child’s condition is not talked about and there are little opportunities for them to socialise and communicate with peers and adults, then there is a greater chance that the mutism will persist.
Even when selective mutism does resolve without intervention, these children tend to remain socially anxious and may also develop other anxieties or emotion regulation difficulties. They will generally find it difficult to talk in front of groups, ask for help, contribute to discussions, and be assertive. Treatment is therefore beneficial for all cases of selective mutism as it can help your child learn about their anxiety and be comfortable communicating in all situations. Once children with selective mutism enter their second year of school the mutism becomes more entrenched. Therefore, the older the child, the less likely the mutism will resolve without treatment.