Theses and Dissertations - UTB/UTPA

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Communication Sciences and Disorders

First Advisor

Dr. Timothy J. Meline

Second Advisor

Dr. Barbara Ann Johnson

Third Advisor

Dr. Keri Parchman-Gonzalez


Selective mutism is a consistent refusal to use spoken language in specific social situations. This can occur in a particular environment or with specific individuals. A collaboration of four case studies was used to study the possible etiologies, characteristics, and intervention strategies associated with selective mutism. Four children from public school campuses in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas were subjects in this investigation as well as teachers and parents.

A questionnaire was used to gather data along with informal interviews. Results concluded that prevalence rates for selective mutism are relatively high in the area surveyed. Furthermore, many professional personnel are not familiar with characteristics and methods of treatment but are familiar with the term "selective mutism."

Although subjects exhibited some common characteristics they differed in personality types and did not fit the descriptions provided by the contemporary literature. It appears that subpopulations exist in the area of selectively-mute children based on etiology and characteristics presented in school and home environments.


Copyright 1996 Colleen Anne Gittins. All Rights Reserved.

Granting Institution

University of Texas-Pan American