Teachers Guide to Selective Mutism

Guides

Would Switching Classes Help?

Parents sometimes wonder if switching classes or schools will help their child start talking. It is true that it can sometimes be hard to get a child with selective mutism to talk in front of people she has a history of not talking around. The more she is used to not talking around her teacher, for example, the more ingrained it will be. However, pulling a child out of one class and putting her into another can also sometimes be disruptive without being helpful — particularly if the child isn’t currently receiving treatment or her new teacher hasn’t been prepared to work with a child who has SM.

If your student feels comfortable with you and you are following the recommendations of her treatment provider, then it is certainly worth trying to make progress in her current classroom. If the child’s parents prefer to switch classes, it will be important for them to put strategies and techniques to help her in place before she enters the new class. Otherwise they may be risking introducing her to yet another class she feels unable to speak in, which might reinforce her anxiety. The next section in this guide gives advice for working with a new student who has SM.