Children with selective mutism do not initiate or respond when spoken to by others in a social setting because of their anxiety. However, these children can communicate clearly and effectively when they are in an environment that’s secure, comfortable, and calm for them.
Being a non-profit organization in Tamarac, Florida, we’ve seen parents who are worried about their children that have selective mutism. They fear that if their children stop communicating, they might get rusty and start all over again.
Hence, they must be encouraged to communicate in any way possible, whether verbal or non-verbal. How?
- Get down to the child’s level and focus on a prop, then ask optional or direct questions to the child while still focusing on the prop. Don’t use open-ended questions that have to make the child think in order to come to an answer.
- Make sure to leave room for hesitation. If needed, re-ask your questions. Do not beg or bribe the child for answers.
- Allow non-verbal communication without prodding or expecting speech.
- Accept their level of communication as the first step to ensuring their comfort.
Let us work in helping children with selective mutism overcome their anxieties and open up to others in different ways of communication. If you want to know more about selective mutism and how you can encourage your child with this condition to communicate more, feel free to reach out to our public service organization in Florida.
Selective Mutism Foundation, Inc. is a campaign group that brings awareness to selective mutism and helps families overcome this condition through helpful resources.