Parents Guide: How to Help a Child with Selective Mutism


Finding the Right Treatment Team

Children with SM should never be pushed to speak. The pace of treatment should be gradual, and children shouldn’t be asked to do something that is too difficult for them. Instead, treatment should follow specialized behavior therapy techniques that prompt speech and then reinforce successful speaking experiences with lots of labeled praise and small incentives. This careful progression helps children gain confidence and prepares them for experiences that get progressively more challenging.

Intensive behavioral treatment, like the Brave Buddies℠ program, has proved to be very successful in treating SM. Instead of meeting with clinicians for just one hour a week, children in intensive group treatment can participate in daylong or weeklong sessions. This concentrated focus helps jumpstart treatment by giving kids bigger and more immediate gains.