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Selective mutism

Selective mutism is an anxiety or fear-related disorder, where a child or young person speaks very little or not at all in certain situations even though in other contexts they may talk freely. The inability to speak should occur for more than a month (or two months in a new setting e.g. new school) to be recognised as selective mutism.

What are common signs of selective mutism? 

Children and young people with subtle (low profile) selective mutism may:

Children and young people with more recognisable (high profile) selective mutism may not speak at all to certain people. For example they speak:

Our process

At HSR Psychology we ensure that we meet the needs of children and young people. To achieve this we ensure that any specific assessments, intervention, or direct work, is only carried out following an initial discussion.

An initial discussion allows us to understand the background and your expectations of our involvement. Having an initial discussion ensures any services we provide appropriately identify or address needs.

Our process for any specific assessments, intervention, or direct work is as follows:

Step 1: Contact us

We will usually be contacted by the child or young person, parent or carer, or another professional (eg education or health).

You can contact us or complete a referral

Step 2: Arrange an initial discussion

An initial discussion allows us to understand the background and your expectations of our involvement. Arrange an initial discussion

Step 3: Review our recommendations

Following an initial discussion we will send you an email that includes:

  • Next steps recommendations - to provide a bespoke package of support. For example:
    • Assessments
    • Reports
    • Information gathering
    • Meeting
    • Interventions
    • Consultancy
    • Reviews
  • Costing - we will provide costings for any services recommended.

Step 4: Let's get started

On receipt of the next steps recommendations and costing you can decide how to proceed. Once you have decided contact us to arrange the chosen services.

How is selective mutism assessed?

At HSR Psychology, we will aim to identify what the child or young person’s needs are and whether they have selective mutism. 

Selective mutism is assessed by a speech and language therapist and a psychologist, with input from parents/carers, school staff and other professionals. 


We will identify the pattern and severity of the mutism and evaluate the effect it is having on the child or young person. We will also aim to discover if there are any underlying significant causes and find out sufficient information about the child's background i.e. their developmental past, interests, friendships and family relationships in order to be able to implement effective intervention. 

HSR will liaise with relevant professionals at school to try to establish how well the selective mutism is currently being managed by people who are closely involved.

Speech and language therapist

A speech and language therapist would assess underlying speech and language needs and abilities to rule out any physical causes. 

What happens after an assessment?

Following an assessment, any needs may be identified. We will then have an opportunity to discuss whether or not further interventions are required. Results of an assessment may lead to us being able to make recommendations for adaptations or interventions to gently encourage the child or young person to overcome their specific difficulties, which can be written up in a report.

The assessment may also find that your child does not, in fact, have selective mutism. However, your child may still benefit as a result of strategies to strengthen specific areas or focussed interventions. 

What interventions for selective mutism do we support?

Our psychologists target identified areas of selective mutism by providing bespoke assessments, of which they support the following:

A joint intervention with a psychologist and a speech and language therapist may be recommended. 

To speak to a member of our team about specific interventions, please contact us .

Arrange an Initial Discussion

Arrange an Initial Discussion to find out how we can help. The initial discussion lasts 1-1.5 hours, comes with a written recommendation summary and is a starting point to identify needs. The cost is £180.

  • No waiting lists
  • Experienced psychologists
  • Includes recommendation summary

Find out more



Selective mutism can occur for numerous reasons and is often supported through focussed early interventions. Assessments include observations, standardised assessments and questionnaires. If you would like more information or feel as though your child may have selective mutism, please contact us to discuss your needs or arrange an Initial Discussion.

What makes us different

Access to a named psychologist

Focus on mental health and wellbeing

Joined-up approach

Bespoke services to meet needs

Multidisciplinary team

Holistic approach

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Flexible, consistent, and competitively priced

We provide bespoke solutions to suit all budgets and requirements for children and young people aged 0-25 in homes, education settings and the community. Our clinical, educational and child psychology services are cost effective.

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Make a referral

To make a referral and arrange an initial discussion please complete our referral form.

Make a referral

Contact us

Ready to get started? The next step is to speak to our team to find out more about the services we provide and how we can help. Call us on 0161 820 9229 or email

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