Below are five ways to help a child with Selective Mutism cope with being away from his or her daily routine.

1. Prepare the child well in advance of traveling.  Create a visual daily/weekly itinerary so they know what, when, and where!

2. Show the child pictures, photographs, and maps of the destination, as well as websites showing the hotel and planned activities. 

3. Make a visual list of all the things you will need on your trip, then take your child shopping with you to buy supplies

  • Make this an SM exposure where you use purposeful strategies to help with the progression of communication!


4. Pack some reminders from home to help the child feel secure (e.g., stuffed animals, a favorite book, a few photos of friends and favorite places at home).

5. Preplan purposeful SM exposures based on your child’s stage of social communication (games for younger children and goals for older children) and implement key strategies (parent goals). Examples include:

  • Write down common questions to give to hotel/activity staff to ask your child. Common questions help to minimize your child’s need to think/process and may allow uninhibited responses to come more quickly.
  • Engaging strategies such as Frontline (encourage your child to be on the frontline of interaction, rather than shadow) and Handover/Takeover (encourage your child to hand items to others or take items from others).
  • Ask your child choice/direct questions with visual scripts while checking into the hotel and activities.
  • Continue with exposures in restaurants, stores, and community locations as you do at home.
  • Set parent goals for the summer, as you would for during the school year.