Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Picture Books for Children With Selective Mutism

Since first writing about Selective Mutism and my son's struggle with this anxiety disorder, I have received several encouraging messages and comments.  Some have asked how he is progressing this school year, so I wanted to give an update and share a few picture books that we have enjoyed reading that are perfect for the SM child and their friends who may not understand this "shy" child and their inability to speak aloud.  Plus, October is Selective Mutism awareness month, so I thought now is a good time for another post on S.M.

 Selective Mutism Awareness - Chicago, Illinois



First, my five year old has made tremendous progress these last three years and is now whispering to almost all his teachers this year in kindergarten!  This is his third year at his school where he attended the 3 and 4 year old preschool classes.  So, he feels very comfortable, the faculty is familiar to him, and several of his friends from previous years are in his class. Although he is interacting more with other students, I still have not seen nor heard him initiate conversation with his peers.

To witness him first hand, participate in class to answer questions (in a loud whisper) is a blessing and makes me want to cry happy tears!  What is the secret to his progress?  I'm not really sure... My family and his teachers have prayed for him, we have trusted that God would equip me, my husband, and his teachers to best know how to work with him, and the faculty at his school (where I also teach) has embraced him, loved on him, and has been so patient with him.  Removing the pressure to speak aloud is critical to S.M. children.  So is treating them like any other student and making sure that they are included in all activities, even if the teachers knows they may not participate.

My son loves to read, and I found a few picture books that deal with quiet, shy characters.  These books can help the S.M. child realize that they are not alone with their silence (my child verbalized last year that he thought he was the only one in the world that didn't talk at school...awww!). Additionally, they can help other children understand that shy, mute children are different, but are more like them than they might think!

 Danny the Duck With No Quack (Storytime)
  • Danny, the Duck With No Quack by Malachy Doyle This sweet picture book was a gift to my son from my teacher-friend who read the book and thought of him.  Danny never has a word to say, and the other barn yard animals do not understand why he is so scared to talk.  One day he leaves to find a story to tell and has a big adventure and quacks about it! My son enjoyed the gorgeous illustrations and the lesson that he will be able to talk to his friends in his own time.
 A Home for Bird
  

  • A Home For Bird by Philip C. SteadI stumbled upon this beautiful picture book a few weeks ago at the library.  Vernon, the toad, finds a new friend, a small bird, who is silent.  Vernon does not understand why his new friend is so shy and quiet.  Vernon says, "Bird is shy, but is also a good listener." The book's message reinforces the message that we can be thoughtful friends to our quiet, shy friends!


Below are picture books written specifically for children with Selective Mutism.  I have not read them, but will be purchasing them for my son.  Click the pictures to read the product descriptions on Amazon.

Cat's Got Your Tongue?: A Story for Children Afraid to Speak
Understanding KatieShining


If you are a parent or teacher of a child with Selective Mutism, I hope that these book recommendations will be helpful to you! If you have other books you would recommend, please leave a comment!

7 comments:

  1. Hi! My daughter also experienced SM during her first years in preschool. We wanted to share our story and have written it into a beautiful picture book. We would like to share our picture book website with you and others to bring awareness to SM. http://mayasvoice.wix.com/picturebook
    Thank you for your blog! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi! I just saw a SM group on Facebook recommend your book yesterday. It looks like a beautiful book, and I thank you so much for sharing! :-) Lauren

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  3. Hi ! Thank you for your post ! My name is Daniela, and I live in Brazil...my 7 years old niece is experiencing Selective mutism, but in my country almost no information is available about this subject. I'm going to travel to USA in two weeks. Do you think it is possible to find these books in a normal book store ? Thanks in advance.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi ! Thank you for your post ! My name is Daniela, and I live in Brazil...my 7 years old niece is experiencing Selective mutism, but in my country almost no information is available about this subject. I'm going to travel to USA in two weeks. Do you think it is possible to find these books in a normal book store ? Thanks in advance.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Just ordered several of these books. Heard about Maya's Voice from another source and it came today. Great book. Just read it with my SM daughter tonight for bedtime stories and I'm sure we'll be reading it more.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi! Thanks for posting these. My 6 year old has SM and since we homeschool it is only just now becoming an issue. We really thought she was just very shy and would grow out of it. Clearly, it is more than that.

    ReplyDelete

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