Speech and Language Development

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Selective Mutism Treatment

Date: July 9, 2014 Author: Michele Dickson Categories: Speech and Language Development 0


I cant believe it is July before we know it will be September:(  In the 14 years of being a speech therapist I have had one case of a child with selective mutism.  Its not a speech disorder that you frequently hear about but it is still a disorder that affects children.  Selective mutism is a social anxiety disorder where a child experiences fear and apprehension when in social situations.  A child is able to speak and has the language but will only talk in certain social situations.

An i.e., a child talks at home with his/her family but will not talk in school.  Research has found that children with selective mutism exhibit symptoms such as tight throat or paralysis when they talk in certain situations.  A child who is unable to talk in certain situations will effect their progress at school and social situations.



The main focus of treatment for selective mutism is reduce anxiety and establish rapport with the child.  A child has to feel comfortable with you.  This can take a long time in therapy but this is the most important part to get a child to start talking.


Once the child is comfortable and will speak on a 1:1 basis then another person that the child feels comfortable with will be introduced into the therapy sessions.


Therapy should be directed around the child’s interests and the therapist should follow the child’s lead.  Let the child pick the activity and play next to the child but do not force the child to speak.  Talk as your playing but remember small steps.


Talk to the child’s teacher and other people that are involved with the child so they are aware to continue trying to initiate conversation with the child.  You do not want the child to stop communicating because others stopped putting expectations for the child to talk.


Prior to therapy starting be aware that the child was given an audiological evaluation to assess hearing and that Autism was ruled ou

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