Selective Mutism is a complex childhood anxiety disorder characterized by a child’s glaring inability to speak and communicate effectively in select social settings, such as school, despite being able to speak in other situations. The book “Easing School Jitters For the Selectively Mute Child” by Dr. Elisa Shipon-Blum attempts to provide guidance on how to deal with this condition in the school.
The book is an informative guidebook that provides parents, teachers, and treating professionals with advice necessary to help prepare the ideal class setting for a child with Selective Mutism.
This practical guide is wonderfully written and filled with facts and helpful ideas. The book is very well organized. It provides detailed plans of action that can be implemented in the school to benefit and accommodate the needs of the Selectively Mute child. Testing, development of an Individualized Education Program, and several methods to help lower anxiety, build self-esteem and increase the level of comfort in communicating within the school premises are discussed all throughout this book. It includes an interactive section where parents can work with their children to help them identify, list, draw, and write about the things that make them feel comfortable and good about themselves, and realize that going to school can be a positive experience. The final chapter of the book is a Frequently Asked Questions section, where the author answers common questions on school-related situations that the child with Selective Mutism may experience, and easy-to-understand approaches for addressing these issues and situations.
But the book is not merely useful and functional. It is also surprisingly easy to read as well as entertaining. The delivery of information on each page is simple but colorful. As such, reading it is a pleasant experience.
Although the book is simple enough to understand, it is not an introductory book to Selective Mutism. It does not include topics such as selective mutism symptoms, tests, treatment, and therapy activities. For books on these topics, see the list of resources below.
This guidebook is a required reference for parents, teachers, treating professionals, and all those involved in helping a Selectively Mute child survive and thrive in a school environment.
The book consistently receives top marks and positive comments on Amazon. Reviewers include professionals such as a social worker, a psychologist, a psychiatrist, a special education teacher, as well as parents.
The author is Dr. Elisa Shipon-Blum, President and Director of the Selective Mutism Anxiety and Research Treatment Center (SMART-Center) located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She is also a Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychology and Family Medicine at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. She is a certified family physician who specializes in Selective Mutism. Apart from her professional expertise, which qualifies her as a selective mutism therapist, she also has personal experience with the condition, having a child with Selective Mutism.