top of page

Key Questions to Ask Treating Professionals for Diagnosis and Treatment

The information below was taken directly from the SMart Center operated and directed by Dr. Elisa Shipon-Blum who has developed the evidenced-base treatment S~CAT®.


What are the key questions to ask a potential therapist or physician?

Do your homework! You will have a much better idea what to look for if you understand Selective Mutism. Educate yourself as much as possible before seeing any professional. Parents should read as much information as they can about Selective Mutism. The SMG~CANs website at has countless pages of information and it is updated on a regular basis.

Key questions to ask include:

  • What are your areas of expertise?

  • Have you ever treated a child with Selective Mutism? If so, how many and what are your success rates?

  • What are your views on Selective Mutism? In other words, what are some of the reasons a child manifests mutism?

  • What is your treatment approach to Selective Mutism?

  • What will be my role as a parent? What is the teachers role? Etc.

  • What is your opinion on medication in treating Selective Mutism and when do you consider medication?

  • Can you supply me with references of families you have worked with? 

  • A key question to ask a therapist is 'HOW will you work with my child to help him/her progress communicatively?' Children do not progress communicatively without learning coping skills. Simply lowering anxiety is NOT enough to enable the child to begin engaging socially, learn to progress to verbal communication and feel comfortable in an environment. SKILLS must be taught.

Caution: When speaking to potential treating professionals, please be cautious of those who see Selective Mutism as a controlling/manipulative behavior. Treatment approaches based on discipline and forcing a child to speak are inappropriate and will only heighten anxiety and negatively reinforce mute behavior.


bottom of page