5 doctors weighed in:

Why would my 5yo develop selective mutism?

5 doctors weighed in
Dr. Glen Elliott
Pediatrics - Psychiatry
1 doctor agrees

In brief: Reaction to stress

Selective mutism is thought to be a type of stress reaction in which the individual only speaks in certain settings or to certain people.
It is not at all uncommon to develop at age 5, although usually anxiety has been present before that, e.g., trouble separating at daycare. It may be transient; but, if it lasts & begins to spread to more settings, seek professional help with a psychologist.

In brief: Reaction to stress

Selective mutism is thought to be a type of stress reaction in which the individual only speaks in certain settings or to certain people.
It is not at all uncommon to develop at age 5, although usually anxiety has been present before that, e.g., trouble separating at daycare. It may be transient; but, if it lasts & begins to spread to more settings, seek professional help with a psychologist.
Dr. Glen Elliott
Dr. Glen Elliott
Thank
Dr. James Ferguson
Pediatrics
1 doctor agrees

In brief: Attention/avoidance

Elective mutism is occasionaly seen as early as 3-5 yr in two general groups.
One includes immature, oppositional or unresposive kids who use it as an attention seeking tool or to evade discussions. Another group are anxious & fearful and elect to decrease their anxiety by avoidance. By definition both groups have normal language skills when they speek. Talk with your dr if this continues.

In brief: Attention/avoidance

Elective mutism is occasionaly seen as early as 3-5 yr in two general groups.
One includes immature, oppositional or unresposive kids who use it as an attention seeking tool or to evade discussions. Another group are anxious & fearful and elect to decrease their anxiety by avoidance. By definition both groups have normal language skills when they speek. Talk with your dr if this continues.
Dr. James Ferguson
Dr. James Ferguson
Thank
Dr. Carlos Barrios
Pediatrics - Psychiatry

In brief: Anxiety

This is a manifestation of anxiety and is mostly a social reactions to cope.
Happening in the school setting and not at home usually. Teachers should encourage the child to talk or communicate non verbally and not talk for the child as that would only reinforce. IEP is a good way for school and parents to work together along with a school psychologist. Pediatrician can refer to cbt therapist.

In brief: Anxiety

This is a manifestation of anxiety and is mostly a social reactions to cope.
Happening in the school setting and not at home usually. Teachers should encourage the child to talk or communicate non verbally and not talk for the child as that would only reinforce. IEP is a good way for school and parents to work together along with a school psychologist. Pediatrician can refer to cbt therapist.
Dr. Carlos Barrios
Dr. Carlos Barrios
Thank
Read more answers from doctors