Why are most teachers so resistant to learning about SM? The pressure-based treatment my child has received at school has set them back. The School IMMEDIATELY wants an IEP! Naisha 


“First of all, let’s reframe this. In my experience, I don’t believe teachers are resistant to learning about Selective Mutism (SM). 

I believe they may have preconceived ideas about what SM is. Unfortunately, the term Selective Mutism implies these children are selectively not speaking. Some teachers, especially those that maybe not have read the most updated information on SM, or have gotten misinformation from others in the past, see SM as children who are choosing not to or refusing to speak. 

That pressure-based approach of ‘you need to speak, you should speak, it’s recommended that you speak,’ and focusing on speaking is really missing the boat. Remember: SM and not speaking is a symptom of something else. 

SM is a social communication anxiety disorder. Teachers may not see it that way. I highly recommend that, from an objective standpoint, you educate them on what SM is. Give them materials. I encourage you to browse our “What is SM?” booklet and webinar. These resources will help teachers understand what SM really is. For more school-based resources, explore our School Professionals Resource page. 

Once an IEP or 504 plan is in place, the teacher will need to follow it. It’s best the teacher understands SM as best as they can so you and the teacher can work together to create the most effective school-based accommodation plan possible where you are not focused solely on just getting your child to speak. ” – Dr. E

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