selective mutism

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A mental disorder of childhood or adolescence whose essential feature is a persistent failure to speak in certain social situations in which speaking is expected, such as at school or among peers, despite a proven ability to speak in other situations. To satisfy the diagnostic criteria, the behaviour must interfere with educational or occupational achievement or with social interaction and must not be attributable to a lack of knowledge or facility with the language required in the specified situations, or to embarrassment about a communication disorder such as stuttering. Also called elective mutism. [From Latin mutus dumb]

Subjects: Psychology.

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