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Assessment process

The assessment process should begin with an initial screening assessment via parents and pre-school/school practitioners to establish the presence of selective mutism, to gain a picture of the client’s speech, language and communication skills and gauge whether further assessment is indicated for other aspects of their development.

The initial assessment should involve Dysphagia gathering information from parents and staff around the client’s speaking habits in different contexts. If selective mutism is indicated, it will also involve gaining an overall picture of contributing and maintaining factors at home and school.

Initial assessment may indicate the presence of speech, language or communication difficulties and the need for a detailed assessment of these areas by the SLT. However, given the nature of selective mutism, it is vital that professionals do not add to the child’s experience of speaking anxiety by engaging them in direct assessment before they are ready. Children with selective mutism are anxious about communication and a direct assessment that focuses on this area is unlikely to yield valid results until the child’s anxiety has been reduced and they have had an opportunity to become comfortable with the therapist

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