Help! My pupil won’t talk……!!!!!

October 31, 2007 at 6:28 am 4 comments

It is hard to manage a class of noisy and hyperactive kids. But it is much more challenging to have a kid in the class that refuses to talk a word.

This school year, I am up to another challenge…I am going to try my best to make Angelo talk. Who is Angelo? Well, Angelo is one of my kindergarten pupils. He is a transferee from another nearby preschool and he hasn’t uttered a word from day one. Nope, he is not deaf and mute. Angelo can talk at home, he can talk in the mall, he can talk in any other place…but he just won’t talk in the school.

Angelo is suffering from a severe anxiety disorder called Selective Mutism. Selective mutism is a rare anxiety disorder characterized by a child’s inability to speak in select social settings. That means, Angelo can easily express himself in places that he feels secure and comfortable. Unfortunately, our school is not one of them.

Right now, making Angelo talk has been a class concerted effort. My pupils are all trying so hard to make Angelo talk while in class. One time, Mimi (his classmate) tried bribing him with a date in Jollibee just for him to talk. But alas, Angelo won’t budge.

Anyway, according to an article that I’ve read, kids with Selective Mutism needs to be assured that school is a secure and non-judgemental place for him to express himself. Well, so far we have been trying to get close to Angelo but he still keeps everything to himself. I guess this one will surely test my patience….Oh God…help me!!!


Entry filed under: Fear, Kids With Special Needs.

What to look in choosing a preschool for your child?

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mommy Wheng  |  July 19, 2008 at 9:15 am

    Hi! I have a son who’s eight. He has selective mutism. He didn’t talk last year in school and still not talking in school right now. I’ve been reaching out to others with same problem. I feel so alone with the battle. How’s Angelo?

  • 2. KC  |  August 23, 2008 at 8:14 pm

    I have an almost 5 year old with selective mutism, I found your website through my blog stats . I just want to assure you of a few things.

    Your student Angelo need not test your patience. He will probably be cooperative to some degree – whenever he feels comfortable. His resistance isn’t to drive you nuts. It’s a protective mechanism resulting from being overwhelmed. So is his attention issues – they often go hand in hand.

    I bet he will be a bright child, most children with SM are. They tend to take in so much information that most kids miss (that’s part of the overwhelming part).

    My daughter is most afraid of being laughed at/made fun of. Being uncertain in the classroom makes her feel the center of the attention (even when this is not the case – to them, it feels like they are being closely watched and judged). So to avoid the possibility, the mutism protects her from that. But it also keeps the child from enjoying typical things in the classroom.

    The best advice I have is to start to ask yes/no questions, and allow non-verbal responses. Gradually, see if you can’t ask the child to whisper answers in your ear.

    You can tell the child you know it’s hard for them to talk in the classroom, but you believe they will be able to do it when they are ready.

    You may wish to read up on Sally Goddard’s book on Reflexes, Learning and Behavior. Selective Mutism is an involuntary action on the part of the child and it does affect the child in a major way. It is a maladaptive coping strategy to be sure, but other strategies can be learned to cope with anxiety in the classroom setting.

    Good Luck and Best Wishes.


  • 3. grace  |  January 14, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    elow po..
    can i ask question po..
    nursing student po kc ako..
    gmgwa ako ng thesis regarding with this selective mutism..
    ask ko lng po kng ano po ung gngwa nyong intervention sa mga anak nyo n my ganito???
    thanx po ng mdami..
    irerelate ko lng po s topic nmin ‘level of awareness on proper nursing care and intervention given to selective mutism patient of their family members

    • 4. mirakel22  |  January 15, 2010 at 12:16 am

      Hi Grace! I’m not a parent (yet) but I’ve taught a preschool kid who had selective mutism. He’s now in Grade 1 in another school and thankfully he started talking at the later part of his preparatory class. If you want to learn more about my experience with Angelo and his family’s struggle, kindly email me at Goodluck on your thesis!


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