Communicative behaviour with neurotic developmental disorders: elective mutism

I. Kolvin and T. Fundudis

In: Linguistic Disorders and Pathologies 1993; 788-794

With thanks to De Gruyter for their support for this project and for giving permission to reproduce this chapter. The book is also available at:

Cite as: 

I. Kolvin and T. Fundudis, "Communicative behavior with neurotic developmental disorders: elective mutism", pp 788-794, in G. Blanken, J. Dittman, H. Grimm, J. Marsha, C. Wallesch (eds.), Linguistic Disorders and Pathologies, (Walter de Gruyter, 1993).


There are two forms of psychological mutism - traumatic and elective; both are dramatic and both are rare. The main theme of this paper is an account of elective mutism.

The rarity of mutism may be the reason for the lack of a substantial literature on the subject of elective mutism. Following the original classic article by Tramer (1934), over the next half century there were only about half a dozen major contributions to the literature on this subject, culminating in the article by Kolvin/Fundudis (1981). And in the recent years there has been only one further research report of a controlled study with more than 20 electively mute children (Wilkins 1985).

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