|

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Selective Mutism

Toddler and Teenager Expert Advice from Carleton Kendrick, Ed.M., LCSW

Q: I am a first-grade teacher. I have a student who has been diagnosed with selective mutism. He completes all of his written work in class. However, he will not read orally or speak in class. He does speak at home. I have talked to him via the telephone. Do you have any suggestions? I know he is comfortable in my class. He laughs and smiles. He will complete any given task.

A: It sounds like you have already developed a good foundation with this student. He shows you he takes pleasure in your class and complies with your schoolwork requests, excluding those that involve speaking. Selective mutism is a very tricky diagnosis. Many in the psychological community believe it to be based in childhood anxieties, as opposed to a learning disability routed in delayed or "unhealthy" speech and language development.

You should be working in close concert with his therapist(s) so you can best help this child in all relevant areas (emotional, social, cognitive). To give you a better understanding of this disorder, take a look at the following websites:

http://www.anxietynetwork.com/spsm.html

http://www.comp-acc.com~diverse/smg/index10.html

http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/CDAB/journal/69/69-1089.htm

http://www.flinet.com/~diverse/smg/abstract.htm

http://www.comp.acc.com/~diverse/smg/links500.htm

Thanks for taking the time to find out how you can help this youngster. Good luck.

More on: Expert Advice

Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

highlights

Healthy Smile Checklist for Kids
Have better dental check-ups with this free printable checklist that helps keep your child flossing, brushing, and smiling! Brought to you by Philips Sonicare.

Kindergarten Readiness App
It's kindergarten registration time! Use this interactive kindergarten readiness checklist, complete with fun games and activities, to practice the essential skills your child needs for this next big step. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

8 Easter Egg Decorating Ideas
Need some fun ideas for decorating Easter eggs with the kids? Look no further for colorful and cool designs!

7 Ways to Curb Kids' Exposure to Violence
American children are exposed to violence more often than you might think. Learn how to limit your child's exposure to violence and manage the mental health and behavioral effects it can cause.