Assessing Cases of Selective Mutism and Reluctance to Speak

Christopher A. Kearney

in Helping Children with Selective Mutism and Their Parents

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780195394542
Published online October 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780190261702 | DOI:
Assessing Cases of Selective Mutism and Reluctance to Speak

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  • Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology


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This chapter outlines the assessment of cases of selective mutism and reluctance to speak. It begins with interview questions that are specifically geared toward core aspects of selective mutism. Later sections cover measures such as questionnaires and worksheets that generally require little time. These basic and less time-intensive methods must be part of any assessment for a youth with selective mutism or reluctance to speak. Later in the chapter, measures that relate to key associated features of selective mutism (social anxiety, oppositional behavior, and communication problems) are discussed. These measures may be a bit more time-intensive and include other questionnaires, formal testing, behavioral observation, and review of records. A final section of the chapter involves suggestions for collating your assessment data to develop an intervention plan.

Keywords: evidence-based strategies; reluctance to speak; social anxiety; oppositional behavior; communication problems; formal testing; behavioral observation; children; selective mutism

Chapter.  6222 words. 

Subjects: Clinical Psychology ; Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology

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