Parents Guide: How to Help a Child with Selective Mutism

Guides

Helping Older Kids

Treating older kids with SM is more complicated because they have lived with the disorder for longer, but there is still excellent help available for them.

Kids who have had SM for longer will be accustomed to not speaking in public, and their parents, teachers and other caregivers will have adapted to working around their avoidance. To combat these long-standing habits, clinicians will need to put in place a very robust treatment plan, likely using intensive behavioral therapy. Clinicians may also go with children to the actual places where they have difficulty speaking in order to do “real life” treatment.

Kids who are older and have had a longer history of SM are also more likely to be prescribed medication to help them participate in therapy.

Finally, older kids with selective mutism are also more likely to have other disorders, such as social phobia and other anxiety disorders or depression. Other disorders should be treated as well; treatment for SM won’t necessarily make these problems go away.