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Susannah Thomson

An introduction to selective mutism and intervention approaches for SENCOs and teachers

Independent Speech and Language Therapist, Susannah Thomson provides an introduction to the anxiety-based mental health disorder Selective Mutism. She highlights suitable intervention approaches for SENCOs and teachers. The session aims to help teachers understand more about Selective Mutism. It also aims to help understand the role of Consultants and schools in Selective Mutism intervention. It outlines the basics of intervention and highlight where to get support in working with someone with SM.

Selective Mutism, sometimes called Situational Mutism, is an anxiety-based mental health disorder which usually commences in early childhood. Those with SM speak fluently in some situations but remain consistently silent in others. They may have a blank expression or appear ‘frozen’ when expected to speak. With early intervention the prognosis for recovery is good. In some cases it may persist and last right through a child’s school life and sometimes even into adulthood. It is important to understand that those with Selective Mutism want to speak but find themselves physically unable to do so due to their anxiety.

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Philippa Watts
Philippa Watts
Senior Programmes Officer (Health), Council for Disabled Children

Book Pairing

by Colin and Rachel Redman, our resident book curators from SEN Books

Can I Tell You About Selective Mutism?

A good introduction to Selective Mutism and tells children what the condition is and helps those around them understand how a child with communication issues might feel and suggests ways to support them.