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    Does anyone here have experience with selective mutism? My daughter is 8 and still suffering. We tried some options and she is BH getting better, but very slowly…

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    I don’t have experience with SM but a friend of mine does. She’s worked with many SM cases and has been very successful. Would you like me to pm you with her information?

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    I would appreciate that. Thank you!

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    As a preschool teacher, I’ve so far had just one experience with selective mutism.


    We would play a “game” with her and her friends (so they shouldn’t be jealous) but careful enough they shouldn’t realize we’re doing it specifically for one kid. We tried to avoid jealousy and bullying.



    We started by asking one kid at a time one yes/no question. Ex: did u eat bread for breakfast today? Do you like rthe taste? Do u have a baby sibling?  Do u love your baby? Does she walk yet or laugh? Does she love u too?


    When the kid answered, we gave them a little treat, usually a sticker. Then we went on to the next kid. We played several rounds where each kid had many chances. They had many stickers at the end of the game and they were thrilled at the easy opportunity to get stickers.


    Regarding the kid suffering selective mutism, she would hesitate to answer. Sometimes we also played one on one with her so she feels more comfortable not having so many kids watch her.


    At first we just asked her to nod so she can get her sticker. After 2-3 times we asked her to verbalize yes or no. This was the hardest to break through. We would ask a question, she’d nod, but we said with a huge encouraging smile “I can’t hear you”. So she’d start whispering and we’d say again,  “I can’t hear you”.


    This all needs to be done on a very positive way. Give the kid the feeling of ‘I believe in you. You can do it. Keep going. I’ll be so happy to hear your voice!’ This is the most important part for this technique to work. It needs to be done very positively, with love, so the kid should feel safe to open up. But don’t let her become comfortable in just nodding. Or just answering quietly. Up the level very quickly but not too quick. Once she breaks through a milestone allow 1-2 games and then continue to the next level. You need to find the right balance according to the kid’s personality.


    We would insist she talks on an audible tone for her to get her sticker.  Eventually we challenged it even more. This part was only done with her peers around bc she was already used to use her voice in school. We asked the kids questions that require one- word answers like “What’s your favorite color? What age are you? What’s your baby’s name?” When the kid wanted to answer yellow, she’d point at something yellow to show us her favorite color but we didn’t accept it as an answer. We inserted she talks, and on an audible tone. Later on we asked the kids to list things. Ex: list your family members. List 5 toys u like. List today’s breakfast menu. This required her to use her independent thinking along with talking.


    The hardest part was for me to hide my excitement with her milestones. I was awed in disbelief at the kid’s progress, but we had to up the level & not stay stuck in the excitement. Wake just needed encouragement.


    The best part was when she came to me one day and verbally asked me for things. Then she started coming over and started telling me stories! Without any promises or any stickers.


    Once she came and asked for help in closing the zipper of her coat. I asked her to ask a classmate for help. She was so hesitant,  and it didn’t work this time. She couldn’t bring herself to ask. After much persuasion,  she finally whispered to a kid beside her. The cutest was when the other kid said “I can’t hear u” bc now the kid with selective mutism finally gets to experience real life, and being that she already experienced the joy of verbal communication, she’ll start handling situations independently without stickers or adult assistance.


    This was a success story with lots of hard work, setbacks and happy results, too.

    At this point she just becomes better & better at verbal communication.

    Good luck to you. Try it and let me know how it works. This is a process that can take weeks or months or longer. Depends on the kids ability, determination, and on the level of their struggle with selective mutism.


    Make sure to reward the kid enough so it gives them a real push and willpower to break through!



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    Selective mutism sometimes is caused by hypersensitivity to sound. You can tell if that’s the case when the person is good one on one but only shuts down in groups that are too large.  This is different than someone who shuts down with anyone who makes them uncomfortable no matter how long they know them or how small the group. One is overwhelm and the other is anxiety.  The treatments would be different.

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