Selective Mutism


What is Selective Mutism

Selective Mutism is a complex childhood anxiety disorder characterized by a child’s inability to speak and communicate effectively in select social settings, such as school. These children are able to speak and communicate in settings where they are comfortable, secure, and relaxed.


For Teachers

Understanding Selective Mutism A Guide to Helping Our Teachers Understand


Tips for Helping Kids With Selective Mutism Go Back to School

For School Psychologists

Selective Mutism DSM-5 312.23 (F94.0)

Silent Suffering: Children with Selective Mutism

Tool Kit- Supporting Children with Selective Mutism Practice Guidelines

CASP Article-Selective Mutism: A Three-Tiered Approach to Prevention and Intervention

PREZI- Selective Mutism

School Evaluation Form

For Speech Pathologists

Selective Mutism – Speech-LanguagePathologist

A Socio-Communication Intervention Model for Selective Mutism

Speech-Language Therapy and Selective Mutism

Selective Mutism: Assessment and Intervention

Good PPT

School Speech Questionnaire and other supportive tools

Great Blog Post on Treatment of Selective Mutism with Tools!!!

Resources for Selective Mutism:


Book- The Silence Within: A Teacher/Parent Guide to Working with Selectively Mute and Shy Children. by, Gail Goetze Karvatt

Wikipedia – Selective Mutism

The organizations which have information on selective mutism:

K12 Academics

NYU Child Study Center

Selective Mutism Foundation

Selective Mutism and Childhood AnxietyDisorders Group

Child Mind Institute 

Selective Mutism on Line



Anne Fernald suggests talking to your infants increases intelligence

I know that this seems like a no brainer, but I cannot stress that if you have access to a parent of a young child it is important to convey that talking and interacting with their child as much as possible is crucial for their development. Despite all the pressures and stresses that we endure to make ends meet financially. We should be reminded that cultivating shared time and activity with our children can help fuel our energies and be renewed to take on the difficult tasks that face us daily.

Anne Fernald is an American psychologist, the Josephine Knotts Knowles Professor in Human Biology at Stanford University,[1] and has been described as “the leading researcher in infant-directed speech”.[2]

Fernald specializes in children’s language development, investigating the development of speed and efficiency in children’s early comprehension in relation to their emerging lexical and grammatical competence. Recently, she has also begun to study language development in bilingual Spanish-English speaking children and children who are learning Spanish in addition to English. Her research has shown that infants prefer baby talk to adult speech and that it plays an important role in their language development,[3]and that baby talk has universal features that span multiple cultures and languages.[4][5] She has also studied the effects of television on infants, showing that young TV viewers echo the emotional responses of the actors they see.[6][7]

Fernald received a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Oregon in 1982,[8] where she studied under the mentorship of Patricia K. Kuhl. As well as her position as a psychology professor, Fernald has taken an administrative role at Stanford as Vice Provost for Faculty Development.[9] Her husband, Russell Fernald, is the Benjamin Scott Crocker Professor in Human Biology at Stanford. Source

Stanford psychologist shows why talking to kids really matters

SES differences in language processing skill and vocabulary are evident at 18 months

Speech and Language Developmental Milestones

How to work towards change according to Tandem™ who promotes early literacy and family engagement programming in the Bay Area.

Speech Articulation in children

What are some signs of an articulation disorder?

An articulation disorder involves problems making sounds. Sounds can be substituted, left off, added or changed. These errors may make it hard for people to understand you.

Young children often make speech errors. For instance, many young children sound like they are making a “w” sound for an “r” sound (e.g., “wabbit” for “rabbit”) or may leave sounds out of words, such as “nana” for “banana.” The child may have an articulation disorder if these errors continue past the expected age.

Not all sound substitutions and omissions are speech errors. Instead, they may be related to a feature of a dialect or accent. For example, speakers of African American Vernacular English (AAVE) may use a “d” sound for a “th” sound (e.g., “dis” for “this”). This is not a speech sound disorder, but rather one of the phonological features of AAVE.

Source: ASHA

All kids come to speaking differently and at their own speed. Here is a chart to show  to figure out ages that children should acquire sounds by:

Another articulation chart

This is the most basic approach to fixing speech sounds and works for many children.  You will stay on each step until the child can do it with 80-90% accuracy.  That may take several weeks per step so have patience!

Step One: Sound in Isolation

The first step to teaching the child a new sound is helping her say the sound all by itself.  We call this “saying the sound in isolation” and it means just the sound, not a word or syllable that contains the sound, but just the sound.

For example, if you want to teach the child to say “sock”, “sun”, and “soup”, you should work on the “sssss” sound.

That link will also give you ideas on how to help the child make each particular sound.

Step Two: Sound in Syllables

For this step, you will have the child pair the sound with various vowels to make nonsense syllables.  For example, if the sound was /b/, you would have the child say “buh”, “boh”, “bah”, “bee”, etc.

Step Three: Sound in Single Words

Now it’s time to have the child say the sound in single words like bear, ball, book, rub, elbow.

Step Four: Sound in Sentences

Once the child can say the sound in single words, you’ll want to have the child make up a sentence with that word.

Step Five: Sound in Structured Conversation

Now you’ll want to have the child answer open-ended questions, like “how was your last birthday party?” while remembering to use the sound correctly.  You want your child to be speaking answers that consist of a couple sentences together.

Step Six: Conversational Speech

The final step is to help the child remember to say the sound correctly in conversational speech.

Source: Carrie Clark, CCC-SLP
Speech and Language Kids


Types of Articulation Errors – A Simple Guide

Articulation Screener here is the article that goes with the screener. Plus the App for IPad: Here it allows for only one free screener. Each additional screener cost .99 cents.

Articulation Therapy Process