Speech and Language Therapy 

  Selective Mutism   

Selective mutism affects about 1 in 140 children; that's two children in most 
mainstream primary schools.  
Are you worried that your child or a child who you support isn't talking freely in certain situations? 
Would you like to feel confident that you’re doing everything you can to help? 

What is Selective Mutism?  

Children with selective mutism find it difficult to talk in certain situations, such as at school or in public, despite being able to talk freely in other situations, such as at home with close family. It is helpful to refer to it as 'situational mutism'. 
Selective mutism is often misunderstood as shyness or refusal to talk. However, children with selective mutism are not choosing not to talk - they want to talk, but the expectation to talk triggers an unconscious freeze response that prevents the words from coming out. Non-verbal communication and body movements can also be affected (e.g. facial expressions, pointing, handling objects, walking). 
There are two profiles of selective mutism: high profile, where a child never talks in certain situations, and low profile, where a child gives minimal responses and doesn’t initiate talking in certain situations.  
Selective mutism usually starts in early childhood when children first interact with less familiar people outside of the family. If left unsupported it can continue into adulthood. 
If a child has been talking minimally or not at all in certain situations for over a month (or two months in a new setting), despite talking freely in other situations, they are likely to require some support. 

Selective Mutism Services  

Assessment and recommendations (plus report if required). 
Support and training for parents and education staff in understanding selective mutism and how to help. 
Joint planning meetings with parents, education staff and the therapist. 
Support to devise and update a therapy plan and goals (if required). 
Regular support and guidance by phone/video call or email. 
Regular therapy sessions for the child with the therapist, parents and/or education staff. 


“Our three year old daughter suffered with selective mutism. We decided to get in touch with a specialist to help us deal with the problem. Pre-school recommended Natalie and we are so glad they did. The issue, which we were really worried could affect our child for years to come, was sorted in a matter of months. Thanks to her extensive knowledge and experience of this condition, Natalie was able to put in place a great plan of action tailored to our daughter's specific needs and individual personality. The staff at pre-school and ourselves at home followed all of Natalie's expert advice and as a result, my daughter who wasn't saying a single word at pre-school can now happily chat to all her little friends and all the members of staff. It's such a joy and a great relief. Thank you Natalie for all your precious help and constant support throughout this stressful time - we couldn't have wished for a better outcome!” 
Parents of a 3 year 11 month old girl: assessment plus and recommendations 
Book a free, no obligation initial phone conversation with Natalie today. 
Call 07454 868455, email natalie@freemeservices.com or use the contact form below. 
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