What is Selective Mutism?

Selective Mutism (also known as SM) is a term used when children who are able to talk comfortably to some people, usually family members and close friends, are silent or unable to talk to other people.

Selective Mutism is considered a type of anxiety disorder and is not a ‘choice’ made by the child.

The age of onset for Selective Mutism is between 3 and 5 years of age, which is typically when children begin playgroup, nursery, or school and the problem becomes apparent. Children can be considered as having Selective Mutism if they have not spoken in specific situations to certain people for over a month, however this does not include the first month of school/nursery as it can take time for them to settle in to a new environment.

Low vs High-Profile Selective Mutism

Not all children with Selective Mutism are completely silent; some children have what is known as ‘low-profile SM’, which means they will speak when prompted but will struggle to start conversations. Children with high-profile Selective Mutism are easier to recognise because they do not speak at all to certain people.

Facts about Selective Mutism:

How can a Speech and Language Therapist help?

Speech and Language Therapists are often one of the key professionals involved in assessing and treating a child with Selective Mutism, however the treatment process will always involve working as a team with family members and school/nursery staff.

Initially, an assessment of the child and their environments would be carried out before any intervention takes place. Intervention for children with Selective Mutism includes:

Early identification is essential for ensuring that steps are taken before the child’s anxieties become firmly established.

How can parents help?

Important things to remember about Selective Mutism:

Helpful resources:

Check out these useful links for more information on Selective Mutism:

Videos:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gn3CIGSsyK0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=toX0GLFbtiQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3GQe7WCgsQ

Websites:

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Emma is part of our wonderful team of dedicated speech and language therapists. Emma provides children with assessment and treatment in order to help them achieve their maximum potential.

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If you would like to know any more information about Selective Mutism, or if you are concerned that your child might have Selective Mutism do not hesitate to contact one of our speech and language therapists at SLT for Kids on office@sltforkids.co.uk or call 0330 088 2298.

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If you would like any more information on any of the services we offer or would like to book an appointment, do not hesitate to contact us and one of our team will be happy to help. Email office@sltforkids.co.uk or call 0330 088 2298.

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