Selective mutism does not just disappear …
If selective mutism and the underlying difficulties are not addressed in early childhood, the symptoms and behaviour usually become more deeply ingrained and difficult to shift.
Older children, teens and adults often experience a greater intensity of their symptoms as they grow. Untreated, some people are able to create their own coping strategies, but others turn inward and often develop further complications such as depression, agoraphobia, substance abuse, and more. Progressive mutism is one potential difficulty, where the sufferer finds themselves unable to speak in any situation, even in their own home.
It is therefore very important not to brush off potential SM symptoms as shyness, or to assume that the child will ‘grow out of it’. Instead, we recommend seeking additional support for your child.