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I’ve worked with this before. It’s anxiety about speaking.

The first child I met with this issue would speak to children if no adults were present she sometimes put up her hand to answer in class but then just open her mouth silently, unable to actually speak. When I working a reception class with her, she would initially read to her sister and the TA would sit behind a screen and listen. Then we got the sister using a puppet, eventually the TA took over with the puppet, then we moved from a puppet to a pencil topper of the same character (it wasTigger). We also put into place a series of stories about someone who was scared but ‘had a go’ at everyday school stuff and show how it mostly worked out ok. We modelled being worried to do new things but doing them anyway and forgiving ourselves I’d they didn’t work out.

The second child I worked with like this also had an autism diagnosis . We thought he didn’t speak at all until we overheard him talking to other children! He just started talking to us when he got used to us. I taught another autistic child in an enhanced unit for speech and language who I was told was a selective mute, but who just spoke to me from day one. I think the smaller class size helped him. He was very anxious too.

The third went all through mainstream primary not speaking, she would whisper a bit in year ,6, but on starting at high school just decided to start speaking. She had a tough homelife, I think it was trauma with her, she would draw attention to herself eg by stamping on the way into assembly, but then be mute.

Could it be separation anxiety? Linked possibly with Autism?
Positive play might also help?
What is SALT advice?