Selective mutism - help at school

Before joining the school / nursery

  • Check how well I  understand and speaks at home, including the extent to which they speak outside the home.
  • Prior to the child joining the school it is helpful to familiarise me with an adult from the school.
  • If I don’t know anyone at the school  introduce me to at least one child in my class.
  • It helps me to visit the school or nursery at a time when the children are not there so I can become familiar with the empty building.
  • In a nursery setting letting my parents/carers initially stay with me can help settle me.

In the classroom

  • Do not put any pressure on me to talk. Just explain that you understand that it is difficult for me, and that I can talk when I am ready.
  • Creating an accepting and rewarding atmosphere helps me feel valued. 
  • Identifying one adult to form a special bond with me helps build rapport and confidence.
  • Encourage me to interact with other children, especially with a quieter child.
  • Do not insist on eye contact.
  • Group activities like chanting or reciting a well known rhyme can be helpful.
  • Do not make the register an issue for me.
  • It helps to adapt the curriculum so I can achieve tasks non verbally.
  • Make sure I don’t get extra attention for silence or over rely on alternative forms of communication.
  • Keep open and relaxed communication between school and my parents / carers.
  • Keep an eye out for any other developmental or educational difficulties.
  • Be mindful of possible teasing or bulling towards me.
  • When changing class, the handover needs to be carefully planned.
  • Include individual targets for confidence building and independence.

It makes a huge difference for me to know that there is an adult at my school who knows all about my condition and who I can talk to if I am worried or unwell.

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