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Children with autism spectrum disorders and selective mutism

Journal article
Authors Hanna Steffenburg
Suzanne Steffenburg
Christopher Gillberg
Eva Billstedt
Published in Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment
Volume 14
Pages 1163-1169
ISSN 1178-2021
Publication year 2018
Published at Gillberg Neuropsychiatry Centre
Pages 1163-1169
Language en
Keywords selective mutism, autism spectrum disorders, Asperger syndrome, autistic disorder, mild mental-retardation, asperger-syndrome, anxiety disorder, elective, mutism, prevalence, silence, schoolchildren, questionnaire, language, adhd, Neurosciences & Neurology, Psychiatry
Subject categories Psychiatry, Neurosciences


Background: It has been suggested that autism spectrum disorder (ASD) might be a "comorbid" condition in selective mutism (SM). Methods: In this retrospective study, we examined medical records of children with SM diagnosis (n=97) at a medical center specializing in assessment of ASD. Results: Mean age for onset of SM symptoms was 4.5 years and mean age at SM diagnosis was 8.8 years. SM was more common among girls (boy:girl ratio=2.7:1). We found that 63% of the study group had an ASD (no gender difference). The SM group with combined ASD had later onset of symptoms, higher age at diagnosis, more often a history of speech delay, and a higher proportion of borderline IQ or intellectual disability. Conclusion: The results highlight the risk of overlap between ASD and SM.

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