What is Selective Mutism?

Selective Mutism is an anxiety based disorder that causes individuals to be unable to speak in specific settings or with specific listeners despite the ability to speak freely when they are in a comfortable setting and/or with comfortable listeners. There is a common misconception that individuals with SM are choosing not to talk. Selective mutism is a phobia of speaking. It is not a choice. 

SM often coexists with other areas of individual differences, such as; anxiety disorders, speech/language disorders, sensory integration disorders, difficulty sleeping, difficulty eating/toileting in public. 


SM is often identified in the preschool years when a child first goes to school and she/he is not able to speak to teachers and/or peers. More mild cases may not be identified until the late adolescent or teenage years. Though this can feel like a difficult time for school teams and parents, there are wonderful resources available and with appropriate supports in place, an individual at any age can find their voice. It’s never too late!


There are different approaches to treating SM. Within an integrated approach, the support process often includes more than one therapeutic component. Frequent support components include counseling with a clinical psychologist, medication consultation and management with a psychiatrist, and brave voice work with a speech language pathologist. 


If it is left untreated, selective mutism can severely impact a child’s self-esteem, self-concept, social development, and education. SM is best supported by a knowledgeable team of providers and active parental and school involvement.


To learn more, visit www.selectivemutism.org.

Do you know a child who may have 

selective mutism?

Contact Annie today to learn how she can help.



Consultative supports

for school teams.


In-services for

school teams.


Half or full day trainings for school teams.



school-based evals.

"Annie DiVello has been instrumental in helping us navigate our daughter's diagnosis of selective mutism. She has supported us in every way! We have been able to meet all the needs of our daughter and her improvements have been remarkable. She truly treats the whole child and has helped us coordinate support in the school setting and educated us in how to support our daughter in the community. Annie has come to our home, to our daughter's school, has done "brave outings" with us in the community, and facilitated friendship groups to help our daughter navigate tricky social communication. My daughter loves working with Annie which really helps motivate her to tackle the hard work she needs to do to find her brave voice. Annie has also spent so much time fielding my questions and worries! She always goes above and beyond! We have learned so much and couldn't have done it without Annie! We are so lucky to have such a wonderful and amazing professional in our area. I will never be able to express how thankful I am for all of Annie's help and guidance!"

—  March 2019 —

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Annie DiVello M.S.,CCC-SLP

Email: Annie@AnnieDiVello.com





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