My 3years old daughter, who is very talkative at home but silent when we meet others and at school. She has been going to playschool from 18 months old but hasn’t spoke with her teachers atleast once. She play and talk with her friends. Enjoy going to school but doesn’t talk to teachers and elders. She speaks well with her grandparents , Aunty and uncles but not with new people . Seriously need help on this,

  • Hi, welcome to Parenting! Have you talked to your pediatrician or perhaps a speech therapist? While it’s great that she can talk to others her age and at home, if she doesn’t talk at all to the other adults it’s certainly something that should he brought to the pediatrician’s attention.
    – Joe
    Commented Mar 23, 2022 at 3:42
  • Is she just responding verbally to them, or is she ignoring them entirely? If you are with her and encourage her, is she doing better? Is she willing to talk to you while unknown adults are part of the conversation?
    – Arno
    Commented Mar 23, 2022 at 10:03
  • Is there any Family Daycare (small groups of about 3 children per adult) where you live? In France e.g. there is training and subsidies. Also, have you observed her school? This can give you a clue into e.g. difficult acoustics, large number of people in a room -- some children are more sensitive to this. It doesn't necessarily mean something's wrong with them. If you want your child to stay in this setting, it might help to (a) clue a teacher in on her favorite toys, books and actitivies, (b) visit the playground on the weekend, (c) notice the popular toys and get a couple for home use. Commented Mar 23, 2022 at 18:52
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    Why does this have the Autism tag? If you know she is autistic then please edit the question to say so. If you are concerned she might be, then that is something we can't diagnose here. Commented Nov 20, 2023 at 13:11

1 Answer 1


This sounds like anxiety manifesting as situational mutism.

Formerly called "selective mutism," situational mutism is a stress response akin to freeze (as in fight, flight, freeze, fawn, flop, and brace). It's very common in autistic people. The important thing to remember is not to punish your child for not talking or to force them to speak when they aren't ready. In those moments of anxiety, they are likely feeling vulnerable and need assistance in feeling safe again.

To start, I recommend completing this assessment of lagging skills and unsolved problems worksheet. The bottom section titled "Unsolved Problems" is where you'll describe the most recent time your daughter struggled to talk to a teacher.

Even though she's 3, you mentioned she's rather talkative, so after completing the worksheet, I'd suggest trying Dr. Ross Greene's Plan B method for figuring out the underlying cause.

With my own daughter, we handled it with an occupational therapist that helped us learn emotional regulation techniques, including deep pressure therapy. For us specifically, we used deep belly breaths, big/tight hugs, hugging self, and hugging a lovey (favorite stuffed animal). This, coupled with some extra time to comfortably transition, allowed my daughter to come out of her anxious spiral sooner.

If we rush or skip these accommodations, it leads to a dysregulated and emotional kid.

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    Yes, this sounds like the experience my wife had as a child - mutism. I wouldn't stress out too much about the autism part, but I would encourage the girl being seen by a professional who could make such a diagnosis. If she is on the spectrum, she'll be much better off knowing this, than not knowing it.
    – Cdn_Dev
    Commented Nov 13, 2023 at 15:01

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