130: SLPs and Selective Mutism with Joleen Fernald

SLPs and Selective Mutism with Joleen Fernald


Selective mutism is a topic that I know many SLPs have lots of questions about, and I haven’t had the right answers. Luckily, in this episode of SLP Coffee Talk, I have special guest Joleen Fernald on to talk about everything you need to know about selective mutism. 

Joleen R. Fernald, Ph.D., CCC-SLP was awarded Board Specialty Recognition in Child Language from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Dr. Fernald follows Greenspan and Wieder’s model, DIRFloortime®, when working with children and families. 

She has a special interest in the social-emotional development of young children and its impact on their speech and language skills. As a speech-language pathologist, Dr. Fernald works with children who have a variety of communication disorders. 

In 2018, Dr. Fernald co-founded REConnections Education Center, a private school that utilizes the DIRFloortime framework as its foundation to support children with individual differences. Dr. Fernald enjoys public speaking and has presented nationally on the topics of childhood apraxia of speech and selective mutism.

Since selective mutism is an anxiety-based disorder, it can be confusing for SLPs to understand our role in helping students, but it's important to remember that this affects their social communication and we are the experts in that. 


In This Episode You’ll Discover:

  • Symptoms of selective mutism
  • The six F words that are connected to selective mutism
  • How to support students with SM
  • FEDC levels for these students
  • The SLPs role for students with SM
  • How to help older students with this condition
  • Tips for evaluating these students


The great thing about SM is that it is curable. You truly can make a huge difference in these students’ lives. The anxiety may persist, but we can help the symptoms. 

As Joleen says, once you work with one student and see their results, you will be hooked on helping these students! 

If you want to learn more from Joleen, make sure to check out her website and join her Facebook group. You can also download her free data collection sheet—all linked below. 

Don’t forget to join the SLP Elevate membership so you can plan with ease and confidence this school year at slpelevate.com


 SLPs and Selective Mutism with Joleen Fernald


Joke of the Week:

Q: What do you call a fossil that doesn’t want to work? 

A: Lazy bones! 


Resources Mentioned: 

Get the Free Data Collection Sheet

Visit Joleen’s website

Follow Joleen on Facebook

Join the DIR-Selective Mutism Facebook group

Follow Joleen on Instagram

Check out the Selective Mutism website


Where We Can Connect: 

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Follow to the Podcast

Follow Hallie on Instagram 

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