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to schedule an individual or group consultation,

teacher in-service, staff development, parent training,

or other professional workshop.

You will learn how to identify children with Selective Mutism

and techniques you can use to help them cope with their anxiety

and learn to enjoy interacting with others and letting their voice be heard!

Our presenter (Ann):

Ann has been immersed in the field of education for over 20 years. She received her B.A and M.S., summa cum laude, in early childhood education and is a member of Kappa Delta Pi Honor Society. She devoted 10+ years teaching full time in the classroom in impoverished neighborhoods as well as affluent suburban areas. Ann was elected Teacher of the Year and received recognition for leading a team of students to a third place finish in a national science competition. She has published articles and training materials for parents and teachers on the subject of Selective Mutism. She currently works as a university professor teaching courses in early childhood education and child development. She also offers individual consultations and group training related to Selective Mutism and plans to continue presenting at city, state and national educational conferences to promote awareness about Selective Mutism. 

Ann offers a unique combination of perspectives related to Selective Mutism. She grew up with the disorder prior to its recognition as a treatable condition and can give insight into living with SM without treatment.

As a teacher, Ann had a student who was diagnosed when the disorder was just beginning to be recognized. The term used at that time, "Elective Mutism", implied that sufferer consciously decided when to speak. In subsequent years, it became evident that the muteness is an involuntary and uncontrollable physiological response, so in 1994 the name was changed to "Selective Mutism" because symptoms appear under select circumstances.

Finally, when Ann recognized symptoms of SM in her young son, Jeff (and his diagnosis was confirmed at age 3 by a child psychiatrist specializing in anxiety disorders), she began extensively researching the disorder and created various techniques to help her son learn to cope with his anxiety. The experimental journey proved to be a complete success and Jeff's story quickly spread by word of mouth. Ann began to receive desperate pleas for help from parentswho suspected their child had Selective Mutism and numerous inquiries about Ann's availability to share her knowledge and experiences with larger groups. 

Almost every person who contacted Ann expressed their relief at finally finding someone who understood what they were facing. Most reported repeatedly feeling dismissed or viewed as over-reacting to a non-existent problem. Several indicated that they had only found one or two seemingly credible sources of information; but said that they were unable to pursue help from these sources due to the cost, wait time and/or location.

This is how Ann's consulting services began

What services are offered?


An individual phone consultation can be scheduled at a time that is convenient for you, including evening and weekend appointments. A phone consultation usually lasts between one and two hours. I will discuss your particular situation, circumstances, challenges or interests regarding Selective Mutism, I will help guide you with establishing steps or goals you may wish to pursue and assist you in locating additional resources for your individual needs.

The following are typical issues I have addressed with clients:
  • What is Selective Mutism (SM)?
  • How is it different from shyness?
  • Does the child I am inquiring about sound like he/she might have SM?
  • Why won't my child talk to his/her own relative/close friend?
  • Should I be more firm or punish my child for not speaking?
  • Is this a power struggle?
  • Is my child defiant?
  • Why is my child able to speak one minute, but not the next?
  • Should I set up rewards to motivate my child to speak?
  • What types of treatment are available?
  • What type(s) of specialist are appropriate to help with SM?
  • Should my child be enrolled in speech?
  • Does behavioral therapy help SM?
  • Should I teach my child Sign Language?
  • Will my child just outgrow this?
  • Is medication the only answer?
  • How can I get the teacher/school to understand?
  • What if the school refuses to help?
  • My child is failing because he/she won't talk, what can I do?
  • How can I deal with relatives/in-laws who are blaming my parenting?
  • Should I let my child whisper?
  • Why is my child talking in animal (or other) sounds?
  • My child is having potty issues at school. Could this be related?
  • How can I prepare my child for school or other situations?
  • Is the school required to do anything to help my child?


I will come to a location you arrange to present to small or large groups. I will need a computer, a projector and a viewing screen. If you can not provide these items you will need to discuss this with me in advance so that other arrangements can be made.

My workshops are interactive including several role-play situations to simulate what an SM child experiences in the classroom. These scenarios also clarify the challenges that teachers face as well as the tremendous amount of suffering that can easily be overlooked with an SM child. Participants are given suggestions for strategies and solutions to use with SM students. The ideas taught in my workshop DO NOT require a lot of prep time or use of specialized materials. They can be immediately implemented by any classroom teacher.

The following questions are typical questions addressed in workshops:

  • What is Selective Mutism (SM)?
  • How is SM different than shyness?
  • How common is this?
  • How is this disorder officially diagnosed?
  • What types of treatment are indicated?
  • What is the prognosis if SM is treated/untreated?
  • Is this child being defiant?
  • Is this child choosing not to speak?
  • How can I get this child to speak?
  • How can I assess the child if he/she won't speak?
  • How can I communicate with this child if he/she won't speak to me?
  • What is this child actually feeling and experiencing?
  • Is S.M. caused by abuse or trauma? Should I be reporting this?
  • The parents say the child speaks just fine at home.Am I causing this?
  • What can I do in the classroom to reduce this child's anxiety?
  • How will I know if there is a problem if the child won't tell me?
  • What should I do if the child does speak to me?
  • Should I send the child to speech therapy?
  • Should this child be taught sign language?
  • Should I offer incentives for the child to speak?
  • If the child won't speak, should there be consequences for him/her?
  • What can a classroom teacher do to help this child?

*Additionally, during the workshops I will share common fears typically associated with

various ages and explain how the anxiety experienced with SM is different.

I will teach:

  • easy questioning techniques,
  • seating arrangements,
  • alternatives for communicating in school,
  • how to address the SM child who is having potty problems,
  • how to assess a child who will not speak,
  • communicating with the child's parents,
  • what types of activities an SM child is likely to participate in,
  • how to anticipate situations that might increase the SM child's anxiety,
  • how to explain why the child does not speak to other students/parents,
  • how to respond if the child does begin to make sounds or speak,
  • what NOT to do,
  • what services the school may offer to help an SM child,
  • whether or not an IEP is ever indicated

*The half day workshop offers a good general information session.

*The full day workshop is ideal for thoroughly understanding the nature of Selective Mutism as well as learning techniques that do not require specialized training, expensive equipment or additional time set aside for planning or making accommodations. 


Face to face consultation:

If you are in the Houston area, a personal meeting can easily be arranged. 

Phone consultation:

Phone consultations are arranged at a day or evening time

that is convenient for you.

Initial consultation: $250.00*

*This generally lasts 2-3 hours. We will discuss your child's individual

symptoms and challenges as well as the impact it is having in and

outside the home. I will help you understand the nature of

Selective Mutism and give you some insight into what a child with SM

is experiencing when he/she "shuts down" at times. With this

understanding, you will be able to anticipate situations that are likely

to be difficult for your child so you can take steps to minimize the

anxiety in advance. You will learn how to handle "shut-downs" that

occur; how to explain your child's behavior to others; and various

techniques that may increase the likelihood of your child using

his or her voice in challenging situations. I will explain treatment

options; what approaches generally do NOT work; and what

credentials to look for if you want to locate a professional who may

provide ongoing treatment for your child.


I can present to large or small groups if you have a facility

that will accommodate your participants.

Ideally I will need access to a computer, projector and

viewing screen. If you do not have this equipment, we can

discuss other arrangements.

Local (Houston area):

$1700.00 for 3 hour training session

$2800.00 for 6 hour training session

*Client covers cost of any requested hand outs

Outside Houston area:

Cost of training is the same.

Client covers travel expenses and lodging (if applicable)


I accept checks, money orders and PayPal.

I do not accept any form of insurance.

The information on this site and/or shared by Ann Sander is for educational purposes. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical or psychological advice. The reader or client should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical or psychiatric condition or treatment plan.Information on this site or from Ann Sander is given by a non-medical professional unless specific credential(s) are clearly labelled to indicate otherwise (ex: MD, LMHC) Reading the information on this website, consulting with or attending a presentation given by Ann Sander does not create a physician-patient relationship. Reader, client or participant assumes full responsibility for how he/she chooses to use the information provided by Ann Sander

Through this website you may be able to link to other websites which are not under the control of Ann Sander. Ann Sander has no control over the nature, content and/or availability of those sites. Any resources linked through or mentioned in this site are not necessarily recommended or endorsed by Ann Sander.

In no event will Ann Sander, or any participant, contributor, endorser or other associate of any kind thereof, be liable for any loss or damage, including, without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damage whatsoever from any circumstances arising out of or in connection with the use of this website or any service provided by Ann Sander.