Special Education/Education


Are teachers required to receive training to work with students identified per IEP with Selective Mutism?

The answer isn't as clear as it should be, but basically, each teacher trained in Special Education should have heard a little about selective mutism, and related conditions.  However, there are 12 categories of special education in IDEA, and mutism is not one of those categories.  It would fall under the umbrella category of Other Health Impaired, which includes many conditions.  

However, if your child's student with a disability has a special education teacher assigned, he or she should have training in how to teach a student with your child's condition.  Meaning, if the special education teacher didn't have training in his or her college program, then the district would be required to get her the training.  Of course, that depends on the educational needs of the student, which could be very different from student to student with the same diagnosis.  The mandate of IDEA is to provide a Free Appropriate Public Education and one of its principles is without discrimination.  

If this is your child, I would suggest that you begin the discussion with your child's IEP case manager, probably the special education teacher.  If he or she doesn't feel that they are appropriately trained, then the district needs to recognize that and either assign an appropriately trained teacher, or provide the training to that teacher.  If she doesn't have the answer or the authority to obtain the training, then your next step is to talk with the district special education director.  If you don't get satisfaction there, then you can file an official complaint with your State Department of Education, saying that your child is being denied FAPE (free appropriate public education) because his special education teacher is not trained in teaching his condition.  Again, the caution is that the teacher may not feel qualified, but is in fact trained, which is a different story than not trained at all.

When I worked in special education administration there were a few times that I had to provide assistance to teachers lacking appropriate training.  In most of the cases, I had the expertise needed somewhere on staff, so was just able to direct the expert to inform the novice and all seemed to work well.

I hope this helped.

Special Education

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Dr. Norm Bishop


I have spent nealy 40 years in the area of Special Education. I have had the pleasure of teaching pre-school, elementary, middle, high school and college levels, as well as, served in school district administration buildings in classroom/legal support positions. I have also spent some time working in a State Department of Education Exceptional Student Services Office and am now currently Division Head and Director of Institutional Research at Alice Lloyd College in Pippa Passes, Kentucky. I also teach special education classes on campus. I have also taught full time teacher preparation at Northern Arizona University on the Tucson Campus, Seattle Pacific University, and at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, Wyoming. In addition to that I have taught adjunct at Seattle Pacific University, City University in Seattle, Ashford University, and Grand Canyon University.


I have experienced directly special education legal issues, process and procedure, and have taught at all levels in every special education category except gifted. My major expertise is diagnostic prescriptive teaching, literacy as it relates to disabilities, technology in special education, and Educational Leadership. My greatest passion in the field is building new programs, implementing and doing the research to see how they work. My Dissertation and principle research interest is in the area of inclusive education, primarily co-teaching of students with disabilities in the general education classroom.

Council for Exceptional Children, Association for the Supervision of Curriculum, National Reading Council.

Teaching Exceptional Children, Published computer assisted instruction, titled PAL, Special Education Basics, college Textbook, Teaching with Precision, college Textbook, Various devotionals at the website, Preachitteachit.com.

I have a B.A. in Secondary Education, a Masters in Special Education (cross categorical), administrative certification, and a second B.A. in Elementary Education. I completed my doctorate in Educational Leadership at Northern Arizona University.

Awards and Honors
Best Summer Program in the Nation (Honorable Mention, when I was Teaching) Multiple local awards

Past/Present Clients

©2017 About.com. All rights reserved.