A new research project organised through the Selective Mutism Information & Research Association (SMiRA) with funding from The Communication Consortium Grants Programme is investigating the statistics around Situational Mutism (SM) within UK secondary schools. The current statistics for SM are around 15 years old and requiring updating. They are also looking at the prevalence of SM amongst children with a diagnosis of autism as until recently, these have been mutually exclusive.
The researchers are inviting secondary schools in England to join the project. The SENDCo will be asked to note the numbers and sex of students in years 8, 9 and 10 with a diagnosis of Autism or SM. Both the SENDCo and teachers will be asked to watch a short training video on SM. Then they will be asked to identify and complete the School Speech Questionnaire about children who display selectively mute traits, and also for those who already have a diagnosis of Autism or SM. Prior to this, parental consent will be sought and assent from the young person will also be requested. The first questionnaire will be followed up with the revised Selective Mutism Questionnaire to be completed by a parent/carer.
This is a great opportunity to improve the understanding of SM in staff and parents/carers at the schools taking part and get some free training. All schools and parents/carers taking part in the research will also be offered individual advice and support on SM from SMIRA as needed.
If you would like to know more about this research or know of any schools who you think may be willing to take part in the project please contact SMIRA through their contact page.