Book an appointment

    I teach a child whom I suspect has selective mutism. The parents feel it will just get better with time and are not keen to get treatment. Do you have any suggestions for what I can do?

    Because children with selective mutism talk freely and normally at home, sometimes parents are not aware of the extent of their child’s difficulties with talking.

    Begin by giving the parents detailed information about how the child is communicating in your classroom. Express your concerns openly to the parents, provide reading material about selective mutism, and invite them to observe their child at school.

    Give information about the effects of the condition on the child’s social skills (e.g., difficulties building friendships, asserting themselves, safety issues such as telling teachers when there is a problem) and academic skills (e.g., not able to elaborate ideas, explain how they reached a particular answer, ask for help, contribute to class discussions, or complete oral tasks in the classroom).

    If over time the child’s condition does not improve naturally (or worsens), you can provide this feedback to the parents. You can also encourage the parents to speak to a Psychologist about selective mutism and what is involved in treatment.