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olph25 olph25 is offline
 
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Selective Mutism
Old 08-20-2010, 12:37 PM
 
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I have a little boy this year with selective mutism- he can talk but chooses not to. Has anyone else had experience with a child like this. I am in a parochial school without the benefit of any special services.


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Old 08-20-2010, 01:07 PM
 
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I have worked with a child with Selective Mutism. The biggest thing with him was building a relationship. Once he felt comfortable with me, he would speak even though it was quiet and not so many words. Take the time to get to know the child and build a strong relationship based on trust. Good luck!
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Old 08-20-2010, 01:14 PM
 
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I had a student two years ago with selective mutism. Once he got comfortable he began speaking with his peers first, then he began speaking to me in a quiet voice. I found that when he made little steps forward I had to be excited inwardly because he didn't like any reaction or excitement.
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Me too!
Old 08-20-2010, 02:09 PM
 
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I found out this week that I have a boy with selective mutism too! I am in public school and he is on an IEP but I'm not sure what support I will have with him. There is a workshop on it in NH but when I asked my principal if I could go to it, he told me to email the sped director to see if HE"LL pay for me to go. Doesn't look like I'll be going!
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selective
Old 08-20-2010, 02:17 PM
 
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To give a different perspective - I was one of those children who would have been under this label - back (WAY BACK) the information wasnt out there about such things and my mom often tells the story that the teachers thought I was MR. I can say that I don't remember alot of my early childhood, just that everything was very intimidating and I thought that if I didn't talk or look at anyone, no one would see me. Strange now, but I just didn't know how to function.Maybe when you go to different areas of the building (special classes) you could hold his hand so he wont fear getting lost -also - I think that if you could give this little boy a special item to keep at his desk, maybe a ty beanie that he could form a bond with - it might help him to feel safe and enter the social part a little easier. Little steps, you know... it seems that when you feel there is no safe place for you to trust in, a stuffed animal is a perfect link to the child and eventually to you and others. I hope this helps.


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Selective Mutism
Old 08-20-2010, 04:32 PM
 
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Hello...I had the same thing a few years ago and like tanya13 above, he grew to trust me but he didn't use as many words and he spoke very very quietly. He still wouldn't talk to the special area teachers but he did well with me by the end of the year. Then in second grade he did a little better and each year after. He is now in 7th grade at our school and he doesn't stand out at all.
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Old 08-20-2010, 04:44 PM
 
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I worked with a selective mute once and I used sign language to communicate. It really helped. I actually use sign language with my class every year anyway. I think it took until January before she talked but used sign language way before that.
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Didn't realize how common SM was
Old 08-20-2010, 07:39 PM
 
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Two years ago I had a child in my class with Selective Mutism. She loved her K teacher, but never talked the entire year. she would communicate with two friends in the class through looks and gestures. I had her come visit me when she was still in K (with her two friends who were also placed in my class in first grade). Toward the end of the summer I did a home visit and met her family, saw her room, dog, etc. Then two days before school started she came to visit the classroom. As the year progressed she began whispering to her two friends. Eventually her whispering became a little louder and she was able to whisper to a few other students. Everyone wanted to be her special helper. She would raise her hand in class and when called on would usually whisper to her friend who would then relay the message to the class. It got to the point wher I could hear her during guided reading groups as she whisper read. Then one day in Feb or March she talked out loud. I called on her, she responded and we kept going. No ne noticed and it took me a few seconds before I realized. I did not say a thing about it, but within a few weeks she was talking out loud all the time. This child is now going into third grade, has many friends and talks to everyone. Her parents seem to think she stopped talking when they went through a divorce (at 4 years of age).
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thanks for mentioning the workshop
Old 08-21-2010, 03:10 AM
 
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I was able to locate it on line and have already gotten permission to attend. I will have to pay the conference fee (no budget money). Interesting to find something in the next town through proteacher..
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Last Year with Phenomenal Success
Old 08-21-2010, 06:41 AM
 
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Time... Just be patient... Find something your student is interested and connect with them. My little girl loved animals. I had a class pet, so she stayed in for recess to help clean the cage. At first, we said nothing - sometimes I made comments to her about the school day or what she was wearing or something I know she did over the weekend (nothing that requires a response). Then, I moved on to yes/no questions. After she became comfortable with that, I would ask SIMPLE questions, give her time to respond, and then say "Well, I would really like to know - maybe you can tell me another time."

Things I used:
-small whiteboard on her desk that she could communicate with
-a journal that we got to know each other through (she would write at home and put it on my desk, I would reply)
-an in-class communication journal - whenever she needed anything, she could write in it and give it to me. I could then reply or help her with what she needed
-do not let your child communicate through friends (it is easier and avoids any type of communication)
-recess time - I spent some outside recesses playing with her - it helps take away the authority that they sometimes are anxious about
-house visits or special sports visits - this can bond a closer relationship and give you more to talk about
-stay in during recess to help with something - gives you alone time
-give opportunities to participate in class (whiteboards for all kids, have all kids raise their hand to see if they all understand something)
-discussions with her doctor (they are the best resource if your child is seeing a doctor)

You just have to remember that ANY TYPE OF COMMUNICATION IS GOOD COMMUNICATION - it doesn't always have to be verbal... starting nonverbal can help transition to oral communication.


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Thank you
Old 08-23-2010, 02:27 PM
 
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Thank you for all the responses. I have been doing alot of what has been said. His parents are very supportive and want the best for him. He is a very sweet little boy and I can't wait to see how much he will grow this year.
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