Volume 12, Issue 4 (1983)
The Treatment of Elective Mutism in Children Within the School Setting: Two Case Studies
Philip J. Lazarus, H. Marie Gavilo, Jane W. Moore
Periodically, the school psychologist maybe asked to evaluate and/or treat a child who refuses to speak in the school setting. Elective mutism is the term used to describe a child who refuses to speak in almost all social situations,including the school environment, despite the ability to speak and comprehend language.These children usually talk to immediate family members (Tramer, 1934) and insome instances selected peers (Friedman & Karagan, 1973; Kratochwill, Brody & Piersel,1978). They “may communicate via gestures by nodding or shaking the head, or in some cases by monosyllabic or short monotone utterances. Children with this disorder generally have normal language skills, though some have delayed language development and abnormalities of articulation. The refusal to speak is not, however, due to language insufficiency or another mental disorder.” (American Psychiatric Association, 1980, p. 62.)
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