Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Selective mutism

Selective Mutism is a ‘consistent failure to speak in specific social situations, despite being able to speak in other, more familiar situations’. It is now  ‘seen as a manifestation of social anxiety or phobia, occurring in temperamentally predisposed children who are unable to take normal life events in their stride, particularly when the reactions of others reinforce silence rather than speech,’ (Maggie Johnson, 2012).

It doesn't sound too big a  problem does it? Might even be a nice change to have a quiet one in the class, be better if more had it to make life easier for the teachers?

But for the thousands of children and their families who suffer from Selective Mutism, it can be a terribly debilitating condition and one that encompasses all aspects of life.

With this in mind we reviewed and improved what Small Talk Speech and Language Therapy can offer and we are delighted to announce our new  services:
  • We have done the diagnosis and management training and extension level training by Maggie Johnson and Alison Wintgens, who are the UK leading experts in SM.
  • We will soon be able to use animal assisted therapy using Ralph our lovely therapy dog. This can just be having him the room to reduce stress/take the focus away from the child or he can be involved in a  small steps programme as he loves to do obedience work. We have had training in using him from Humanima which included the theory behind and helped us to prepare the necessary paperwork such as policies/procedures and risk assessments when doing any form of animal assisted activity
  • As older chidren benefit from CBT, we are now trained in this so we don't have to refer on to a counsellor. It is a shame to see a child or teenager, build a rapport, diagnose and then pass on. We have a good relationship with an excellent counsellor so we can refer if they need anything else such as EFT.
  • We also have excellent links with a clinical psychology team
The therapy for SM involves the people the child's own environment so more often that not we are 'explainers' and facilitators. This means it's straightforwards to see children and families who may live outside Staffordshire and who are prepared to travel for a diagnosis and/or help. If you are concerned about a child please get in touch to arrange an appointment.

Ralph the trainee therapy dog



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