Children with selective mutism (SM) speak freely with their immediate family members but persistently fail to speak in social situations. This condition is believed to be anxiety related and is similar to simple phobias experienced by young children. Correspondingly, the most common SM intervention is based on treatments of other childhood anxiety disorders that place an emphasis on behavioural modification modalities (Pionek Stone, Kratochwill, Sladezcek, & Serlin, 2002). These common interventions include shaping, systematic desensitization, and other exposure based therapy. However, attributable to the fact that the severity of SM varies, treatment may not be needed for those children with transient mutism (Powell & Dalley, 1995). This paper will consider: 1) means of identifying and discriminating transient mutism from persistent mutism; 2) the potential inter-relationship between transient and persistent mutism; and 3) how the principles of the Reggio Emilia approach to early education leads to a reimagining of the image of the child and the role of the teacher to potentially foster the likelihood of spontaneous remission of the transient selective mutism.
|Keywords:||Selective Mutism, Transient Mutism, Persistent Mutism, Reggio Emilia, Image of Child, Role of Teacher|
PhD Student, Faculty of Education, Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
Assistant Professor, Department of Graduate & Undergraduate Studies, Faculty of Education, Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
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