SPECIAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS
All too often, children experiencing Selective Mutism are evaluated and
placed into special education programs in public schools. It is assumed
by Special Education school staff that these children will fare better
in classrooms containing less students and more individual attention.
It is on rare occasion that a Selectively Mute student will benefit
from a special education setting.
Unfortunately, the majority of children who have been placed in Special
Education can be found in programs for the Emotionally Disturbed and/or
the Speech/Language impaired. Many professionals fail to recognize that
Selective Mutism is not linked to anything else. Selective Mutism is
not a Learning Disability, Emotional disturbance, nor a Speech/Language
Impairment. A Selective Mute student who displays any of these
conditions would then have an additional and separate education need.
In most cases, placement into Special Education settings have been
ineffective or damaging, particularly with the Emotionally Disturbed
program. As public schools generally do not have much information on
how to help these children, special education teachers are no more
equipped to assist these students than the general education teachers.
Professionals need to understand that Selective Mutism, like Tourette
syndrome or Attention Deficit Disorder, can be dealt with in General
Education classrooms by implementing a behavioral management plan.
A word about parents rights regarding their child’s educational
programs--If your child is referred for an initial evaluation for
possible Special Education services in a public school you have the
right to refuse testing if you do not agree with the referral. You do
not need to consent to the evaluation, and you can, by law, refuse and
if need be request a fair hearing at no cost to you.
You should by law, be given a Parent Handbook and a copy of Procedural
Safeguards, which explains Special Education procedures and programs,
as well as parent /guardian rights.
If you consent to have your child evaluated and later disagree with the
results or recommendations for Special Education placement the same
If your child is already attending a Special Education program and you
are not satisfied, it is your right to request a staff meeting at ANY
time to discuss your concerns and or request a change in placement. Be
sure that your concerns are documented. A reevaluation of your child
will be necessary in order to change or decertify him/her from a
Special Education Program.
As Special Education program funding is partially funded through
Federal funds, school staff must abide by Federal Laws and regulations.
We have provided a list of a few agencies where you can obtain
help/information regarding Special Education, funding, laws,
regulations, etc. You may find these in our related links section.