Exciting new SMIRA research! Schools needed now to take part!
There are currently no reliable statistics on the prevalence of Selective Mutism (SM) in English schools. The statistics that exist are up to 15 years old. There is an overwhelming need for up to date statistics on the prevalence of Selective Mutism in children. Further, until recently, Autism and Selective Mutism have been mutually exclusive, meaning that if diagnosed with one, an individual cannot be diagnosed with the other. That said, anecdotally there has been shown to be some overlap of the two conditions. This causes a number of problems for children who are of school age. Not least of which is effective and early treatment of SM which is essential.
A number of English Secondary schools will be invited and recruited to this research. 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 Selective Mutism. Both the SENDCo and teachers will be asked to watch a short training video on Selective Mutism. 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 Selective Mutism. 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 Selective Mutism from SMIRA as needed. You will also be contributing to a very important improvement in the understanding of Selective Mutism and any relationship there may be to Autism, which will in turn improve the support schools can give to children with these conditions leading to better outcomes for them.
The study has been assessed and approved by the Leeds East Research Ethics Committee IRAS Number: 312984. We will adhere to ethical guidelines issued by the British Educational Research Association and the British Psychological Society.
We are recruiting schools now
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 our Contact page asap and we will get back to you.