Selective mute?

Discussion in 'Kindergarten' started by roseteacher12, Oct 6, 2010.

  1. roseteacher12

    roseteacher12 Habitué

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    Oct 6, 2010

    Does anyone have experience dealing with a student who refuses to speak? I have a child who has not spoken a word yet since school started 5 weeks ago. I have discussed this with parent, principal and school counselor but I'm wondering if there's anything I can do directly in the classroom. Thanks!!
     
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  3. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Oct 6, 2010

    This does happen and can be part of another disability. I would try to make the child as comfortable as possible (sometimes its just shyness), accept him/her for who he/she is. Allow other methods of demonstrating understanding (written, circling, underlining, pointing).
    What does the child do when you ask him/her a direct question?
     
  4. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Oct 6, 2010

    My son, now 21, has autism coupled with selective mutism. He will speak to us at home, but has never spoken a word to anyone outside the family. Ever. Throughout his school years, his teachers found other ways to assess him. He could do multiple choice tests and illustrate his comprehension skills that way. Fluency activities were just never done with him. His facial expressions also showed understanding. It was never an issue because his teachers never made it an issue. He participated in all his class activities, just without talking.
    When I have mute students in my class, I treat them like every other student. Yes, sometimes I have to be creative with assessments, but it's no big deal.
    I would suggest that you treat that student as you would every other student. If she never speaks, so be it. If she is just shy, she may warm up and begin speaking.
     
  5. Bengie03

    Bengie03 Rookie

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    Oct 25, 2010

    I had a child a few years ago who never spoke a word for two years, while in my special education preschool. It was extremely frustrating at times, but we tried our best to make her feel as comfortable as possible, while in our class. At the end of her preschool year, we had her mom/dad come in once a week, usually a friday and stay with her all day. This actually helped a lot. She started talking, not to us, but to her parents when she thought we were not paying attention. A few times she would talk to her parents right in front of us, and we would pretend that it was no big deal, for fear if we said something she wouldn't talk again. We suspect that their were underlying conditions other than the selective mute. She also had frequent seizures...
     
  6. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Oct 25, 2010

    Swansong has given wonderful advice. My son didn't speak at school until the end of Grade 2; he had some wonderful teachers who allowed him to "just be" and found ways to be creative with assessment and evaluation (and one who I'd rather not talk about). He's almost 20 now and we were talking about his early school years just a few weeks ago. He said, "I was fine. Other people may not have thought I was, but I was fine."
     
  7. SwOcean Gal

    SwOcean Gal Devotee

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    Oct 26, 2010

    JamieMarie on here has experience with selective mutism in the classroom. You should check the archives too.
     
  8. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Oct 26, 2010

    I am on year 2 with a student with selective mutism. She was in my class last year and looped with me as I went up a grade level. It was thought that she would be more comfortable sticking with me than starting over with a new teacher.Over 2 years we've made great progress. She started grade 2 not speaking to anyone except me- and then it was a fairly inaudible whisper. Over the year and with great collaboration with our guidance counselor, the student progressed to whispering with one student at a time- short questions that she had on a card to ask others. She finally had spoken to every student one at a time using the card. Then at recess or in cooperative groups, she would whisper with partners about classwork. This year, she has already whispered to everyone in the class at least once and when called upon will whisper her answer out loud (which can be heard by those nearby). She will get up in the Author's Chair and whisper her stories to the class. She never smiles but you can read A LOT in her eyes.
    Selective Autism is not so much about 'being shy'...it's more about anxiety. My student wants to speak- she just is having to take her time getting over her fears. She does speak at home- unfortunately the parents haven't aggressively pursued therapy for her which research shows at an early age is SOOOO important. If not addressed, selective mutism tends to be self-reinforcing: those around such a person may eventually expect him or her not to speak. Little by little we have made great progress. I am so proud of her.
     
  9. halpey1

    halpey1 Groupie

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    Oct 28, 2010

    I had a little girl like this a few years ago when I taught 2nd grade... she did end up speaking in class - just SO quietly you could barely hear her... I used it as an opportunity to reinforce listening skills. :D
     
  10. gigi

    gigi Groupie

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    Oct 28, 2010

    I had a child in Kindergarten years ago that wouldn't speak in class. She would whisper to the other students but would not utter one word to me. Her parents insisted she could speak, and having heard her whisper to other students I knew she could. She did not have any disabilities, just chose not to talk at school. Her first grade teacher had the same problem, however, following her progress she did finally start talking!
     

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