Speech and Language Therapy 

  Selective Mutism (SM)   

 
SM 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 (SM) find it difficult to speak in certain situations, such as at school or in public, despite being able to speak freely in other situations, such as at home with close family. Although the name would suggest so, children are not choosing or 'selecting' not to speak in certain situations. For this reason, it is also referred to as situational mutism. 
 
SM is often misunderstood as shyness or refusal to speak. However, children with SM want to speak, but the expectation to speak triggers an unconscious fear (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 SM: high profile, where a child never speaks in certain situations, and low profile, where a child gives minimal responses and doesn’t initiate speaking in certain situations.  
 
SM 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 speaking minimally or not at all in certain situations for over a month (or two months in a new setting), despite speaking freely in other situations, they are likely to require support. 

Selective Mutism Services  

Assessment and recommendations (plus a written 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 written therapy plan (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. 

 

"Thank you for your work with our daughter and the thorough report, which we feel will stand us in good stead for seeking further help. The report is a very accurate picture of her strengths and challenges, so thank you for being so thorough; we really appreciate the time and effort that you have put into preparing this. Thank you very much for all your support and for going the extra mile for our daughter." 
Parents of a 4 year old girl: holistic assessment and report 
 
"I have just realised that whilst I have sent your report on to staff in school who work with this child, I have not thanked you personally yet for sending it through and for all the work you put into it. Thanks so much for all the information provided. It will help us so much in honing the support offered to her in school and also in supporting with the EHCP application." 
School SENDCo 
 
"The feedback and report you provided us for this child was hugely influential is us securing an EHCP for her - thank you very, very much!!" 
School SENDCo 
“Our three year old daughter experienced 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: holistic assessment 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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