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 selective mute 
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Right now I am in a 5th grade classroom where one of the boys is a selective mute. From talking to my teacher I have learned that up until 4th grade wouldn't talk to anyone at school, not even his classmates. Just last year in 4th grade he started talking to his classmates but not to teachers. He will talk to his classmates when we(the teachers) are around but not if he thinks we can hear him. I actually heard him talking the other day at lunch and it shocked me. If we ask him a question that is a yes or no answer he will nod his head but will not speak to us. The other day after lunch we were talking about how tall everyone else and this boy wanted us to know how tall he was so he told another classmate who told us. Our teacher doesn't pressure him or yell at him like she says other teachers have in the past which I think is a great idea. She actaully got to hear him read this year by sending home a cassette recorder and he recorded himself reading but she had to bribe him with some comics or something. She really wanted to hear him read because no one knew how well he could read. So I was wondering, how would you handle a child like this in your classroom?

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Meagan


Fri Apr 18, 2008 10:59 am
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Believe it or not I have a 9 year old cousin who was diagnosed 5 years ago with seletive mutism. For several years she would only talk to her mother, not her dad or her brothers and certainly no one else in her extended family. She finally started talking to her grandparents recently and last month she talked to me for the first time since she was 4! I know that she is very smart and was very cooperative at school and she had very understanding teachers also. I know that my aunt would record her reading at home and send the tape in to her teacher, but I think you just have to get creative. Lots of times as teachers we rely on written tests anyway and with her, her that's what her teachers had to do.

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Erin Painter


Sat Apr 19, 2008 7:30 pm
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Selectively mute students could seem to be a challenge in the classroom, but with a understanding and creative teacher could turn out to be a good experience for the student and the teacher. Working with a student who is selectively mute, you would have to be creative and find ways and activities that they could participate in and evaluate their learning.

I think allowing them to read at home and record it, is a great idea! It allows them to do their work in an environment that is comfortable for them.

I also agree that your teacher, not yelling or fussing at him for not talking is a wonderful thing. Fussing at him could be very hurtful to the child and is not accepting the child or helping him learn, which as a teacher is our job.

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Jessica Smith


Tue Apr 22, 2008 10:49 pm
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Wow, I've never heard anything like that before! I would find that to be so frustrating as a teacher. Class participation is going to be such a huge part of my classroom and obviously with foreign languages, not speaking in class might not be an option. I think the tape recorder idea was genius. I don't know that I ever would have thought about that. At a young age, especially not talking to your peers seems like just a way for people to be picked on and teased. I would find that to be difficult to deal with. If you can tell the student is upset, but not being able to reach them. It kind of (and this might just sound awful) but it sounds as if it would be much like having a baby. Obviously different on many levels, but the same in that they have to use their actions to describe what they want. Who knows, maybe he'll grow up to be a famous silent actor. :wink:

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Kim Volker


Wed Apr 23, 2008 7:33 pm
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I think silent movies are on their way out... and if the student has issues with speaking with adults it is quite possible that it was caused by something in the child's past having to deal with adults. Not necessarily, but i would say it is likely. So what i am saying is, is that it is highly insensitive and kind of insulting to make jokes at the expense of a student you have never even met and who has such an issue in class. I would suggest reading a book called Beautiful Child that is a very powerful book that deals with much of this.

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Jacob


Thu Apr 24, 2008 10:15 pm
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Wow....what a tough situation to deal within the classroom. I imagine if I had a student that was selective mute, I would encourage them to speak but not be demanding either. I have been fortunate enough to have an amazing power around children, where they feel they could talk to me about anything and everything. Even the quietest students will talk my ear off. If the student does not warm up to me, I will find other activities that will stimulate speech. The idea with a tape recorder is great. If the student felt comfortable enough to talk to other students, I would encourage a lot of partner work with them. There are all sorts of angles you could approach this problem.


Tue Apr 29, 2008 12:07 pm
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This is a tough situation for a teacher to deal with...i couldn't imagine, but i know that the possibility is out there. I have really never heard of this before, especially at such a high grade level. When you think of someone being silent in the classroom, personally i think of a lower grade student that is very shy or really hasn't opened up to his/her peers yet. But that was an awesome idea to have some type of recorder so that the teacher could actually hear the student. If it weren't for that the teacher could have possibly never known. Does anyone else have any suggestions to know that the student is being reached and that they are understanding everything that is going on?

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<3 Lauren


Thu May 01, 2008 11:05 pm
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