Selective Mutism

Selective Mutism

Selective Mutism (SM) is a severe anxiety disorder, where a person is unable to speak in certain social situations. The person does not choose whether or not to speak; they are literally unable to speak. A person with selective mutism will freeze and feel panicked when there is an expectation for them to talk.

The main aim is to reduce the pressure off a child – don’t make them talk or feel pressure to talk. Allow them the opportunity, but let them know they only should talk when ready.

We have created some helpful dos and don’ts to support people with selective mutism..

External Resources

SMiRA is a UK Registered Charity. It was set up initially to support families with selectively mute children. The charity now also supports professionals with information about children and young people with selective mutism too.

The website can be found by clicking this link:

For further, more specific advice for your child, please speak to your child’s speech and language therapist. If your child is not yet known to speech and language therapy, but you feel they would benefit from an assessment and/or intervention, please discuss this with your child’s nursery/school, health visitor or GP. If appropriate, they will then make a referral into the service.

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