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    Will my child ‘grow out’ of their condition?

    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. Once children with selective mutism enter their second year of school, the mutism becomes more entrenched. In fact, many of the older children we see with selective mutism have had a period in the past of ‘wait and see’ where people have waited to see if the child has ‘grown out of the condition’.

    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. This could affect their academic performance at school and the development of important social skills. Treatment is therefore beneficial for all cases of selective mutism or extreme shyness as it can help your child learn about their anxiety and be comfortable communicating in all situations.