Monday, 24 September 2012

Selective Mutism; a phobia of talking

I went to an excellent course on Friday by Maggie Johnson on Selective Mutism (SM). Thinking on this has changed so that it now needs to be considered as a phobia; a phobia of talking. Consequently, our approaches need to change. 

If we had a child who was scared of spiders we wouldn't expect then to confront their fears head-on immediately e.g. by sitting in a bath of spiders or putting their hand onto a box full. We wouldn't cajole, coax, bribe or order them to do it, yet we do all of those to children who are speech-phobic or selectively mute. If we had a child who had a phobia, we would use very small steps in any programme to help them overcome their fear. Similarly, we need to use very small steps with children who have SM.

Maggie recommended an excellent website who produce advice sheets and resources. They also do videos. This is an interesting one, take a look:

If you are concerned that your child may have selective mutism, we can help:

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