About us

Pioneers of Selective Mutism since 1991. Selective Mutism Foundation is not affiliated with any other organization or website.  Initiators of published research, DSM revisions, the first 3 TV segments to ever acknowledge SM. Inventors of school based 504 plans, Inservice, strategies, etc.


“Sue Newman, Co-Founder/Director of the Selective Mutism Foundation, Inc., was a major resource in the work of the renaming of the disorder, Elective Mutism, for the DSM-IV. We held meetings to discuss the views of parents with a child suffering from the disorder. She provided meaningful arguments for the deleterious effects of considering the disorder’s symptoms a choice, or elective behavior, on the part of the children. The arguments she presented were cogent, and clinically sensible. It was immensely helpful to have the input of a concerned citizen who had knowledge of other parent’s experiences. As a result of our discussions, Elective Mutism was renamed Selective Mutism, and diagnostic criteria was revised to reflect failure to speak in specific social situations, rather than ‘refusal’ to speak.”

Rachel G. Klein, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychiatry
New York University School of Medicine
Advisory Board Member to the
Selective Mutism Foundation, Inc.
DSM-IV 1994 Workgroup-Disorders usually first diagnosed during infancy, childhood, or adolescence.


Selective Mutism Foundation, Inc. is the voice of  Trust and Experience.

An ethical, non-profit, public service organization since 1991.
This website is presented to broaden public awareness and understanding of Selective Mutism. Selective Mutism is an anxiety disorder with a persistent FAILURE (not refusal) TO SPEAK in select social settings.

How we opened the doors for you

Our medical journals contributions, newspaper stories, etc.




What Is Selective Mutism?

Selective Mutism is an anxiety disorder characterized by not speaking outside the home to select individuals or in select settings, which continues for more than 1 month. It is most commonly found in children. They understand spoken language.
To Read More…



Professional Service Providers and Resource Directory Halted

 View Our Resource Directory
Follow This Link To View Our Resource Directory




To Read More…

What Is The DSM? Why Is It Important?

The Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM (I) was first published in 1952 as an effort to provide descriptive diagnostic categories to serve as a useful guide for clinicians in diagnosing mental disorders.  The manual was updated throughout the years….
To Read More…

Life After SM – Recovered Adults

” I suffered with Selective Mutism all my life. Now, I finally got out of my shell and I am speaking to people. I had a few jobs in the past that I never had before when I was in high school. It was hard to get a job but I did it. I just went to interviews and spoke up to the manager and told him I was a great worker….”
To Read More…

Advocating For Your Child

Most parents wish they could look into the future to know what lies ahead for their child so they can make the best choices and decisions when coping with Selective Mutism.
To Read More…

Do You Have SM? Take The Self Test

The following questions can be used to help you recognize the symptoms of Selective Mutism.
To Read More…

Changing From Elective To Selective

Selective Mutism was first reported by a German physician, Kussmaul, in 1877. He described physically normal children who developed mutism in certain situations. He called the condition “Asphasia Voluntaria”, meaning voluntary mutism.
To Read More…