How can children be helped?

Early identification and appropriate support is of vital importance. If a child is not speaking at pre-school or school after a period of ‘settling in’ then a Speech and Language Therapist should be consulted. The most important form of help is to establish good links between home, school and any professionals who are involved.

Maggie Johnson and Alison Wintgens, two Speech and Language Therapists, have produced a practical and comprehensive book about SM. ‘The Selective Mutism Resource Manual’ offers practical and effective strategies for helping children and young people with anxiety about talking in public. Their approach to developing confident speaking is a comprehensive guide to research and literature about SM, as well as offering effective advice to parents and professionals.

Maggie and Alison identify two very important ideas: that children with SM do want to talk, but need help to become confident speakers; children need a step-by-step approach that involves the family and school working closely together.

The Selective Mutism Information and Research Association (SMIRA) support families and schools by providing information and advice. Their DVD ‘Silent Children: Approaches to Selective Mutism’ is an excellent introduction to SM and to effective strategies.

What groups help children, families, schools and other organisations?

The Selective Mutism Information and Research Association (SMIRA) is the main group in the UK working to develop understanding of the condition, and provides support for families, schools and other groups. SMIRA is based in Leicester, and maintains a national parents’ register, a reference list of books and articles, provides leaflets, a regular newsletter and produced a book and a DVD. Visit for further information.