Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Selective Mutism

Have you ever worked for a child that won't talk at school? Although this is not classified as a child anxiety disorder, selective mutism is often seen around the time that children enter school for the first time, and can be accompanied by anxiety.

The essential symptom of selective mutism is the failure to speak in some social situations where speaking is expected, despite speaking in other situations.

In the March 2010 Be the Best Nanny Newsletter we discussed selective mutism in children.

If you have cared for a child who wouldn't speak in specific social situations (selective mutism) how did you help the child?


Anonymous said...

This is happening to the 3 yr old girl at preschool. My mom Th boss was thinking speech therapy but she speaks find in other situations. Just hasn't cried or uttered one word at preschool. I will google the topic now and show the mom afer she arrives home tonight. It is baffling. I thought just shyness but perahps more can be done.

Lisa said...

I went to work in a job once where the children had extremely limited interaction with other children outside of the family. Together and alone with us they were very verbal. What DB and I did was them was rehearse different scenarios on types of ice breaker conversations they could have with other children. How when they wanted to say something in a story time or class, they could raise their hand too.

When I worked in other settings though there could be shy children and I wouldn't draw attention to it, and just let them get used to me over time. But then something could come along where I had something that really interested them and one on one I could get them to really start talking to me.

Anonymous said...

I cared for a boy with this once. This is not shyness. This is a psychiatric disorder. Social anxiety causes it and must be treated by a therapist specifically trained in childhood anxiety conditions. The child needs an individualized treatment plan. Parents and nannies and teachers must be involved. A mixture of behavioral, cognitive and family therapy will be used.
(I would rather not share my name or his name for confidentiality).