Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Selective Mutism and Autism

Autism affects a person’s perception, interaction, and experience of the environment, and it is a widespread condition. It is not switched on or off. A person with severe anxiety disease known as selective mutism finds it difficult to communicate with others in specific social contexts, such as with schoolmates or distant family members.

Similarity of Selective Mutism and Autism

Even though autism and selective mutism are separate conditions, they can occasionally co-occur. Selective mutism is another characteristic that some people with autism may have, making it difficult to distinguish between the two diseases based alone on mutism.

Social anxiety can be a feature of both illnesses.

What is Selective Mutism?

A person with selective mutism, an anxiety illness, finds it difficult to communicate with others in specific social contexts, such as among schoolmates or distant family members. It typically begins in childhood and can continue into adulthood if addressed.

What is Autism?

A developmental disorder brought on by variations in the brain is known as autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Individuals with ASD may struggle with confined or repetitive behaviours or interests, as well as social communication and engagement. Individuals with ASD may also move, learn, or pay attention in various ways.

Difference between Selective Mutism and Autism

Definition of Selective Mutism vs Autism  

Selective Mutism 

The main characteristic of selective mutism is a persistent incapacity to speak in some social contexts when speech is expected, even though the person is able to communicate in other contexts.


The neurological disease known as autism is typified by difficulties with speech, social interaction, and repetitive behaviors. A neurodevelopmental disease called autism is typified by difficulties with speech, social interaction, and repetitive behaviors actions.

Communication skills in Selective Mutism vs Autism  

Selective Mutism 

People who have selective mutism may be able to communicate normally in situations where they feel at ease, including at home or with close family members, but they may find it difficult to talk in public or in social settings.


People with autism may have a variety of communication issues, such as trouble following discussions, interpreting nonverbal clues, and expressing oneself correctly.

Based on Anxiety in Selective Mutism vs Autism  

Selective Mutism 

Selective Mutism is frequently categorised as an anxiety condition. Mutism is more often associated with shyness, social anxiety, or humiliation dread than with comprehension or communication difficulties.


People with ASD may exhibit narrow interests and repetitive behaviours.

Treatment of Selective Mutism vs Autism  

Selective Mutism 

Behavioural therapies, exposure therapy, and progressive desensitisation to social circumstances are frequently used to treat selective mutism. 


Behavioural, instructional, and therapeutic modalities may all be used in autism therapies, depending on the requirements of the person.

Summary of Selective Mutism vs Autism  

The points of difference between a Selective Mutism and Autism have been summarized as below:


Can selective mutism be mistaken for autism?

Although selective mutism and autism are separate illnesses, there might be some overlap in their behavioral traits, which can lead to misunderstanding or misdiagnosis in some situations. While there are some parallels, many illnesses have separate diagnostic criteria and underlying characteristics.

Selective mutism is an anxiety disease characterised by a constant inability to communicate in particular social contexts when communication is expected, while communicating in other settings. Individuals with selective mutism may be completely competent of speech and language development but find it difficult to express themselves in specific situations. Individuals with autism may exhibit difficulties in understanding social cues, making eye contact, engaging in reciprocal conversations, and may have specific interests or engage in repetitive behaviors.

While some children with selective mutism may also display social difficulties, the primary feature of selective mutism is the consistent inability to speak in specific situations due to anxiety. In contrast, autism involves a broader range of social communication challenges and repetitive behaviors that extend beyond selective speaking.

How can you tell the difference between autism and selective mutism?

Autism is a genetic variance in one’s personality. Selective Mutism is a symptom or effect that is restricted to certain and exact settings. It can obstruct both written and oral communication, with the result being entirely UNINTENTIONAL (and incredibly frustrating/disappointing).

Selective Mutism appears to be induced by weariness from masking, autistic fatigue, and/or different sorts of harmful interactions with the non-autistic (neurotypical) environment. Some people on the autistic spectrum may never experience Selective Mutism. Selective Mutism can occur in people who do not have Autism.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental illness marked by difficulties with social interaction and communication, as well as limited and repetitive behaviours.

What is the difference between Asperger’s and selective mutism?

When individuals with Aspergers encounter overwhelming sensations, they experience shut downs and may adopt a quiet demeanor. In contrast, individuals with selective mutism can also be mute, but not as a result of sensory overload. Instead, they are mute when interacting with individuals who are not immediate family or close friends. 

The key distinction lies in the nature of the communication difficulties:

Asperger’s syndrome primarily manifests as challenges in social interaction, nonverbal communication, and a limited range of interests, while individuals with this condition typically develop verbal communication skills.

On the other hand, selective mutism is defined by the inability to communicate in specific social situations due to intense fear, while still being able to speak in other contexts.

What is silent autism?

The phrase “silent autism” does not exist in the clinical or diagnostic literature for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental illness characterised by difficulties with social communication and interaction, as well as limited and repetitive behaviours. It is a spectrum disorder because the symptoms and amount of care required by people with ASD vary greatly.

It’s probable that “silent autism” is a colloquial phrase used by certain people to characterise folks who don’t have overt or immediately visible signs of autism. It is crucial to remember, however, that persons with autism may have a variety of strengths and problems, and the way ASD manifests itself varies widely from person to person.

How can you tell if someone is a little autistic?

Autistic persons are prone to “abnormal” reactions during talks and social interactions, as well as trouble expressing and interpreting nonverbal signs. This can make “communicating, maintaining, and understanding relationships” challenging.

What are signs that you don’t have autism?

There are no indications. To make a diagnosis, sum up the symptoms that exist and “ignore” the ones that do not. Why? Because everyone is unique, everyone exhibits unique symptoms. Having an autistic sign does not imply that you have autism. Similarly, the absence of some autistic symptoms does not rule out autism.

Sharing is caring!

Search DifferenceBetween.net :

Email This Post Email This Post : If you like this article or our site. Please spread the word. Share it with your friends/family.

Leave a Response

Please note: comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.

References :

[0]Geschwind, D. H. (2009). Advances in autism. Annual review of medicine, 60, 367-380.

[1]Hua, A., & Major, N. (2016). Selective mutism. Current opinion in pediatrics, 28(1), 114-120.

[2]Krysanski, V. L. (2003). A brief review of selective mutism literature. The Journal of Psychology, 137(1), 29-40.

[3]Image credit: https://www.canva.com/photos/MAD9UMa30YA-word-autism-on-grey-background/

[4]Image credit: https://www.canva.com/photos/MAEe3pBWCVc-a-young-girl-playing-a-board-game/

Articles on DifferenceBetween.net are general information, and are not intended to substitute for professional advice. The information is "AS IS", "WITH ALL FAULTS". User assumes all risk of use, damage, or injury. You agree that we have no liability for any damages.

See more about : ,
Protected by Copyscape Plagiarism Finder