Selective Mutism

The Talking House - Services

Assessment and support for Selective Mutism

Selective mutism (SM) is a condition that makes speaking in particular situations difficult. It usually starts in childhood and if undiagnosed or left unidentified can persist in to adulthood.

At The Talking House Ltd. we work with children and teens with SM as well as supporting their families and staff in their educational setting. We also work with adults with SM and social anxiety difficulties, supporting them to improve in confidence and self-esteem, to build relationships and to access further education or work.

Some individuals may have SM as a ‘pure’ condition, however it can occur alongside other speech, language or communication needs (such as speech or language difficulties, ASC, learning difficulties).

Although a diagnosis of SM can only be made after 2 months of a child attending a new educational setting or playgroup, early identification and prevention are paramount to reduce long-term effect of SM and anxiety around speaking situations.

If you are worried that your child or a child you work with may have SM contact us to discuss your concerns.

Contact Us About Selective Mutismand learn more about our services

What to expect?

  • Initial assessment and diagnosis

    Gathering a full and accurate picture of a child’s communication patterns will be essential to address his or her needs and make recommendations.

    A phone conversation or face-to-face appointment with the child’s parent/carer will be needed in the first instance to discuss to gather a background information and full communication profile – this will last between 45 and 60 minutes.

    A communication profile is a detailed overview of who the child speaks with and where as well as how the child communicates – for example using verbal or non-verbal communication (pointing, nodding or shaking his/her head, etc); the child’s awareness of the difficulty; any particular behaviour that result from difficulties speaking; what makes things better and what’s working; what behaviours hinders speaking.

    Next we will need to carry out an observation of your child in his or her educational setting or in the environment where the difficulties speaking have been identified. This will be followed by a liaison with staff in the setting to continue adding to the child’s communication

  • Treatment and management

    Advice, recommendation and treatment will vary from child to child and will depend of the communication profile formulated. Each child’s profile will determine the areas where support is required and hence the type of intervention the child will need.

    Intervention is usually carried out in the setting/s where speaking difficulties occur. However, if intervention modelling sessions are required, these may take place in a setting where the child is most comfortable and is more likely to speak.

    Targets and provision will be discussed and agreed within the team supporting the child: this will include parents/carers, educational staff, the speech and language therapist and any other professionals involved.

    Regular review meetings and liaison with the child’s support team will be required to monitor the progress to update the targets.