What are some suggestions for teachers whose students have selective mutism?


Quick Answer

Strategies for teachers with students suffering from selective mutism include planning a home visit to meet the child in a comfortable setting before school starts, seating him or her next to a student who is outgoing, not seating the child in the center or the front, and gradually introducing eye contact in the classroom, states Bright Hub Education. The teacher should educate other students about selective mutism outside of the affected child's presence.

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Full Answer

Teachers must remember to eliminate anxiety for the selectively mute child as much as possible, says the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, or ASHA. Explain changes in routine ahead of time and help the child prepare. Encourage other students to act as peer helpers to the child, but be careful that they don't make too much of a fuss when he or she does speak.

Teachers may also form small classroom groups and ask students to work on communicating with one another, first by nonverbal and eventually, by verbal means, notes ASHA. Do this by asking students to use nonverbal cues, such as cards or signals, slowly add verbal communication, and once the affected student is comfortable, eventually do away with the nonverbal tools. Try to keep the child in the same group. Modeling is another helpful approach. Parents or teachers might record a student speaking in a comfortable situation, and encourage him or her to emulate the behavior, gradually working on doing this in a classroom setting.

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