Child talks at home but not at school. How can I help?

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by CrayolaCrayon, Jul 20, 2011.

  1. CrayolaCrayon

    CrayolaCrayon Companion

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    Jul 20, 2011

    One of my summer camp students (3 years old) is a chatterbox at home but has not said one word at school. He parallel plays with the other kids and has told his mom that he has fun at school. We sing some songs after snack time and he smiles but does not sing. Today, his mom told me she is planning on getting him evaluated if he does not start talking at school soon. She had told me it takes him some time to talk to new people, but this appears to be taking longer than usual.

    My research keeps leading me to Selective Mutism. Whether it is that or shyness, I have been careful not to put pressure on him. This has gradually led me to stop initiating conversations because I don't want him to feel anxious. He seems comfortable in the classroom; he does not cry when his mom drops him off in the morning, he is good at following directions and appears to be having fun. Since he is content, should I just let him be? Has anyone had experience working with a child like this?
     
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  3. iloveschool

    iloveschool Companion

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    Jul 20, 2011

    YOu need to read books by Torey Hayden. She is an expert in selective mutism. Last year I had a selective mute in my class. He had never spoken even at home- Just babbling or pointing. he had been seem by ECI from birth-3. Then he had been in special classes and schools. His file was literally 6 inches thick! On the first day of school when my aide had taken most of teh students for drop off- he pointed to a poster and grunted. i just looked at him and said, " Sorry, in my class we have to use words. I can't understand you." Then to my amazement he said, "That is a ball." I almost fell out of my chair!! No one believed me- not even his Mom. He would only talk to me.He spoke clearly and in complete semtences, but only to me. Eventually, he spoke to my aide and at home. The Mom cried and said I had given her son back to her!!! WOW!! What a statement! With that being said. I knew nothing about elective mutism except what I had read to prepare for him being in my class. I just think he was ready to talk. I was just the lucky one he chose to talk to first. I will never forget him.
     
  4. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Jul 20, 2011

    I have had children who try to refuse to talk at school. Usually, they give in, but not due to a power struggle. I usually just calmly state that I can't understand, as the above teacher did. Often I say things like "sorry, I don't know what you are asking for, perhaps you could go and get it" and the child needs to get the cup and go through the motions of filling it. Then when they return to the table I say "oh, Water! We just say 'may I have water please'! Sorry for the confusion." The hardest thing is to not give the child what they are grunting for.....but it has always worked. No pleading, waiting, no drama.....it is hard to remember. My longest stint was about a month.
     
  5. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    Jul 20, 2011

    I have had a child with selective mutism in my class and went to an awesome conference. The organization has a website which has a lot of useful information on it. That being said, I would hesitate to suggest a child who may just be a little slow to warm up to a new environment has s.m. Usually, a child with selective mutism is afraid to make any sound at all - laughing, coughing, anything and displays that behavior in many situations. I was told to talk without looking at the child directly and sometimes they will start by whispering so we worked on her making any noise and then making louder words. It was a long process. They often have a parent who had/has social phobias. Good luck!
     
  6. chicagoturtle

    chicagoturtle Fanatic

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    Jul 20, 2011

    Do you have the website?

    I have had 3 children that could probably qualify as selective mutes. One eventually started speaking to the other children, but never the staff.

    One would talk to the adults, but only when he was the only child in the room.

    One I will have again next year and we will see how to proceed in the fall. We are looking into an EVAL because there are other issues going on too (ot/pt/toilet training).
     
  7. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    Jul 20, 2011

    My son as a young child only spoke to immediate family members or in response to questions. No problems in preschool, but maybe that's because I was there, I wasn't teaching yet. But at church or school, he only spoke when spoken to! In kindergarten his teacher would make him ask for help, instead of letting him point to his shoe if he wanted it tied or whatever. When he got to 1st grade with his teacher's help, we encouraged him to talk to his classmates about different things. One of his kindergarten classmates made it her goal to get him to talk to her.

    He was that way until probably about 2nd/3rd grade. He's still quiet though & he'll be a high school sophomore this fall.
     

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