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 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 are unable 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. 'Situational' mutism would perhaps describe the condition more clearly.
Selective mutism is often misunderstood as shyness or refusal to talk. In fact, children with selective mutism are not choosing not to talk - they want to talk, but are literally unable to do so in certain situations. The expectation to talk triggers a freeze reaction that prevents the words from coming out. Non-verbal communication and body movements may also be affected (e.g. facial expression, 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 may have selective mutism and require support to overcome it.
Selective Mutism Services
Assessment and report with recommendations.
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.
Regular support and guidance by telephone/video call or email.
Regular therapy sessions for the child with parents and/or education staff under the guidance of the therapist.