Hi, I have worked with selectively mute children and have always found that they feel more comfortable if you are working ‘shoulder to shoulder’ rather than facing them directly and expecting them to talk on a one to one basis.
I am a Forest School Practitioner and Outdoor Nursery Manager and have also worked with children in small support groups. Being outside, walking with the adults narrating during an activity usually works after a couple of sessions. For example, during a walk outside an airplane flew overhead, I wondered “where is it going” and the group of children became animated and sharing what they thought. Out of the blue the child suddenly told us that the plane came from South Africa and his Grandma was on it.
He also loved stories and would sit very close to my side, if it was a story he loved he couldn’t help but join in or comment. I wouldn’t make a big thing out of it and gradually our ‘conversations’ got more frequent and natural.
Another child would only whisper, he enjoyed action songs and after a few sessions got so excited he found his ‘Big Voice’ and realized it was more fun to actually use it.
Working with a very capable 2 year old at the moment who doesn’t enjoy noisy groups and will take herself off to do something quiet or watch from the sidelines. I know the activities she loves and will set things up and just chatter away, knowing she’s listening. When she is ready and feels comfortable she can’t help herself joining us. These moments are the absolute best!