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If you are looking for information about our new SEND Sustainability Plan see 'SEND sustainability plan'

Selective mutism

Information about accessing local support for selective mutism in Wiltshire

Selective mutism is an anxiety disorder where a person is unable to speak in certain social situations, such as with classmates at school or to relatives they do not see very often. It usually starts during childhood and, if left untreated, can persist into adulthood. A child or adult with selective mutism does not refuse or choose not to speak at certain times, they're literally unable to speak.

Selective mutism is a complex condition and that can vary between individual children in terms of its presentation, contributing factors, and treatment. Further information and guidance on the condition can be found by visiting NHS: Selective mutism (opens new window).

If you would like further support from other parents, carers, and the wider selective mutism community then you are advised to contact SIMRA. Their website provides a wealth of research, guidance, and training on selective mutism, visit: SMIRA (Selective Mutism Information & Research Association) (opens new window).

If you would like specific support for your children whilst at early years setting/ school/ college, please contact your establishments SENCo. Their details will be available from the early years setting/ school/ college. They will be able to support you in terms of accessing further information, support, and ensuring staff are aware of your children's needs and respond accordingly. You may also find it useful to read our guide on provision that should be availible to all learners including those with communication needs.

If your child is being assessed as part of the neurodevelopment pathway, then you are advised to raise this with your clinicians and seek an appointment with a Speech and Language Therapist to assess if there are any underlying speech and language needs that can be addressed by the local SALT team. For more information visit: HCRG 0 to 18 SALT services (opens new window) or Wiltshire Health and Care: (NHS): Speech and language therapy (opens new window).

Selective mutism is often associated with anxiety and there are a range of advice for parents, carers, and professionals on the NHS: Selective mutism (opens new window) and SMIRA (Selective Mutism Information & Research Association) (opens new window) websites on how to respond to your children to create an environment that encourages and enables communication. If you feel more specialist intervention is needed then please raise this with your SENCO and/or Social Worker, they will be able to facilitate discussions with health commissioners regarding the co-ordination of support for your child. Please note that each case is based on the assessment of the needs of the child, and the package of support provided will vary from case to case.

If you would like to be involved in the development of provision for selective mutism, please contact (opens new window) Integrated Care Board (ICB), you can also contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS see Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Integrated Care Board (ICB): Compliments and complaints (opens new window) to raise any specific concerns and/or share your experience. If you have any feedback about services and support relating to selective mutism, you can also share your experiences with Healthwatch Wiltshire (opens new window).

Wiltshire Ordinarily Available Provision for All Learners (OPAL)

Information for professionals and parent carers Provision that the local authority expects to be made available for children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities in early years settings, schools and colleges.

EHC assessments

Information about how to apply for an assessment of additional education needs in Wiltshire

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