Pupils Who Can Speak But Do Not - Working With Selective Mutism | Lighthouse Professional Development

Pupils Who Can Speak But Do Not - Working With Selective Mutism

Course code: 
Persistent failure to communicate affects pupils’ educational, social and emotional development and creates high anxiety for both families and professionals. When children converse freely at home - but not in other situations such as school - the term ‘selective mutism’ can be used to describe their behaviour. Selective Mutism is a much misunderstood condition and that which often presents itself as stubbornness, attention seeking and manipulation is in fact avoidance behaviour arising from severe anxiety. This session aims to provide an overview of patterns of communication withdrawal and assessment – and furnish you with practical techniques that can be used at home as well as at school.

Aims of the course are to:
• Understand the nature of selective mutism and the factors which contribute to and maintain the condition
• Be aware of preventative strategies for your youngest pupils
• Know how to create an environment which facilitates communication rather than silence
• Be familiar with the principles, time and resources involved in implementing a small steps programme to elicit speech
• Have access to support networks

Who should attend?

Teachers, SENCOs, Classroom Assistants, Pastoral Care Staff, Educational Psychologists and Parents - in Primary, Secondary and Further Education.


9:30 Arrival, registration and coffee 13:00 Restaurant Lunch
The continuum from reluctant speaker to
Selective Mutism
• Reasons for intervention and principles of
• Understanding selective mutism from the child’s
• The continuum from reluctant speaker to
   selective mutism
• Key features and contributory factors
• Assessment and intervention linked to ten
   Stages of Confident Speaking
Planning intervention
• Staged progression from vocalisation to
• Timing of intervention
• Who needs to be involved
Putting it into practice
• Video presentation and discussion
• Planning first steps
• Coping with setbacks
• Knowing when to let go
11:15 Coffee 16:00 Evaluation and close of course
Implications for Management
• Principles of intervention
• Creating an environment which rewards
   communication rather than silence
• Making the child an active partner

Maggie J

Maggie has over 20 years’ practical experience in educational settings. She combines work as a consultant speech and language therapist for a South Eastern Local Authority’s schools with freelance training across the UK. Maggie was a key contributor to the National Strategy for Children who have Special Educational Needs. Publications include Functional Language in the Classroom and The Selective Mutism Resource Manual. Maggie has also designed a range of practical language resources for Taskmaster, including the popular Social Skills Posters.

Suitable for: 
Preparatory/Primary, Senior/Secondary, Special Schools, Post 16/FE Colleges
Scheduled Events, In-school Training

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