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Brave Voices Program at CFI

CBT Treatment for Selective Mutism

Selective Mutism (SM) is an anxiety-based disorder primarily among young children, but also affecting older children and adolescents, who are typically fearful and unable to speak or speak very little. It is primarily characterized as being freely verbal and comfortable at home (to parents or close peers), but being mostly nonverbal in social settings (school, birthday parties, to familiar adults or close friends) or in the community.  

SM causes significant impairment in daily functioning, academic performance and/or social relationships. Due to fear of speaking, children are unable to ask to have their needs met or communicate when they are in pain or to fully participate in school or social activities. 

SM can persist for months or years. If left untreated, it can have negative consequences on a child’s life, including depression, other anxiety disorders, social isolation, poor academic performance and risk of substance abuse.

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