In a previous session with a child with Selective Mutism (SM) and Autism a psychologist and I conducted a play session with a core language board.
Strategies for Selective Mutism and Autism
I demonstrated use of the board to make comments, ask questions and make requests during play with bubbles, balloons, an adapted story, nursery rhymes and jenga. I used this with a variety of other strategies to reduce the pressure to speak such as: Using “i wonder..” phrases; providing visual choices and letting the child know that it was ok that they didnt use their words. The child responded to questions from us using the core board and approximately 1-5 word verbal phrases involving nouns, verbs, adjectives at a normal volume. This was the first time she had spoken to both of us. The child responded well to “I wonder…” questions with a variety of responses – she requested a song at the end of the session with this strategy and initiated communication using animal noises. The child demonstrated movement between stage 0 to stage 2b of the selective mutism social communication anxiety scale using the strategies above.
But should we use a communication board with a child with Selective Mutism?
Yes, if our assessment demonstrates benefit for their use! It is essential that we support these children with their underlying language and social communication difficulties in combination with strategies to targeting their speech confidence. It is only when we support the whole child that we can truly increase their confidence to communicate.