Selective Mutism Training and Support for professionals and families

Wed, 23 Jan 2019
10:00am – 04:30pm

When children do not speak to certain people it is commonly mistaken for shyness, stubbornness, rudeness or attention seeking. Despite talking freely in other situations, we cannot assume they are choosing not to speak or lack motivation to engage.

Consistent inability to speak in certain situations is usually linked to a specific phobia of talking which, if mishandled, can become increasingly entrenched and difficult to overcome.

It is important to understand the difference between shyness, refusal or inability to speak. Above all teachers, parents and carers need to know how to handle the silence appropriately.

Facilitating participation, engagement and verbal interaction are fundamental, however sometimes adults do not realize that their behaviour can be anxiety provoking and at school students with Selective Mutism fall deeper into withdrawal, isolation and avoidance.

We will discuss how staff and parents can recognize the difference between shyness and ‘selective mutism’ and work together to help children and teens break their silence.

This training will also equip concerned parents with a toolbox of effective skills and strategies that they can use to help their anxious child feel reassured and develop the confidence to overcome their anxious emotions.


Course outcomes

  • An understanding of Selective Mutism, based on most up-to-date information and research.
  • How to create an environment conducive to participation, communication and talking.
  • How to set up and monitor a small-steps programme.
  • Key principles for safe and effective management of Selective Mutism.

The course involves both presentations and practical activities in a workshop format. A Certificate of attendance is provided

Recommended reading

Not essential but, ‘The Selective Mutism Resource Manual’, Second Edition, (Johnson & Wintgens, 2016), is a key resource that we will be drawing on during the training and therefore it will be helpful if you are familiar with it.


Anna Biavati-Smith is a Specialist Speech and Language Therapist, who supports children with many different speech and language disorders, unusual bilingual acquisition and selective mutism. She is a joint founder and a committee member of the National Selective Mutism CEN (clinical excellence network) and offers specialist training in Scotland, UK and overseas. She has supported many families and schools in the last 10 years mainly on Selective Mutism (SM). “I am very passionate about Selective Mutism and I would like people to recognize it and know where to get support and apply strategies”.

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Anna Biavati - Smith SLT presents
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