Welcome to sthelens.gov.uk

Best place to find information and services that your council provides...

Maggie Johnson

Maggie JohnsonMaggie Johnson, FRCSLT, is a speech and language therapist advisor specialising in childhood communication disorders and selective mutism. With forty years’ experience in education and community settings, Maggie supports families and schools in Kent, and provides training for parents and professionals across the UK and overseas. Maggie’s work in the area of selective mutism is internationally acclaimed and her publications have been translated into several languages including Chinese, Norwegian and Polish. These include practical guidance for Early Years and KS1 settings: ‘Supporting Quiet Children: Exciting ideas and activities to help reluctant talkers become confident talkers’ (Yellow Door); ‘The Selective Mutism Resource Manual’ (Speechmark Publishing Ltd); and ‘Can I Tell You About Selective Mutism?’ (Jessica Kingsley Publishers).

An Understanding of Selective Mutism

Do you know children who speak at home but say very little or nothing at all at nursery or other settings? Persistent silence creates feelings of anxiety, frustration and inadequacy, both for the children and those supporting them and it is important to recognise when the cause is ‘selective mutism’. This is an anxiety disorder commonly mistaken for shyness, stubbornness or refusal to speak, which does not respond well to the usual approaches we make to encourage talking. The longer it is treated inappropriately, the harder the silence is to break.

This session will give you an understanding of selective mutism, a preventative strategy to reduce the risk of it developing in early years settings, and the knowledge to move children towards talking freely in ways that encourage rather than hinder communication.