Saturday, January 22, 2011

How do I get my daughter to speak in school?

Ms. Dorothy,
My daughter _______ will not talk in her preschool class.  She can, and does talk at home, but her teacher has never heard her voice.  It's not just shyness, she is a "selective mute" at school and doesn't speak from the moment we arrive in the parking lot in the morning till we are out of sight of the building headed home.  Do you have any thoughts that could help us?
Mom of a 4 year old

Selective mutism is a form of social anxiety.  Your daughter isn't choosing not to speak at school, she is scared of speaking at school.  

There are resources available on-line that can help you understand the diagnosis, but the important thing is that you not get lost in the diagnosis and how you feel about what is happening with her.  

She needs a combination of support for taking risks in small successive steps, and understanding about how she is feeling. 
The teacher needs to work with you to encourage her without pressuring her, and to support her efforts without enabling her.  

It is a challenge, but it is something that should be addressed with understanding so that it does not become exaggerated over time. 

Try bringing home one of the children from school for a play date. If your daughter can speak to that child in your home where she feels safe, perhaps she can extend it to talking to that child in the classroom. Adding one friend at a time could help alleviate the stress.

No comments:

Post a Comment