Ask-the-Doc: SMart Tip for the In the Classroom
Question: “Should my child with Selective Mutism be grouped in the same class with friends?”
Answer: “It varies! If your child is not completely dependent on the other children and is not stifling his or her social development (or the friends’ social development) then YES! Communication is most likely to occur with those children with whom the child is comfortable.”
To effectively overcome Selective Mutism and all anxieties, an individual needs to be involved in an Individualized or Group Treatment program, such as CommuniCamp™ which is rooted in the evidenced-based Social Communication Anxiety Treatment® (S-CAT®). Developed by Dr. Elisa Shipon-Blum, this holistic or “whole child” treatment approach is designed to reduce anxiety, build self-esteem, increase social comfort and communication in all settings.
As a physician, Dr. Elisa Shipon-Blum (“Dr. E”) views SM as a social communication anxiety where mutism is merely a symptom. The key to an effective treatment plan is understanding factors into the development and maintenance of SM as well as understanding the person’s baseline level of social communication on the Social Communication Bridge©. Then, working as a team, the treatment professional, parents, and school staff members help the individual build coping skills to combat anxious feelings and to progress across the Social Communication Bridge® into social communication.