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Module 1. By: Christina Marotta. Classroom Setting. Kindergarten classroom 1 teacher and 1 tutor 19 children All English speaking students. Method of Data Collection. Quantitative data Tallied three two hour periods 1 focus child “Nicole”. What did I observe?. How many times “Nicole”…

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Module 1

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Module 1 l.jpg

Module 1

By: Christina Marotta

Classroom setting l.jpg

Classroom Setting

  • Kindergarten classroom

  • 1 teacher and 1 tutor

  • 19 children

  • All English speaking students

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Method of Data Collection

  • Quantitative data

  • Tallied three two hour periods

  • 1 focus child “Nicole”

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What did I observe?

How many times “Nicole”…

  • used a form of non-verbal communication

  • used verbal communication

  • was reprimanded by the teacher

  • was called on by the teacher

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Rationale for Data Collection

I wanted to know…

  • How “Nicole” communicates

  • How her silence effects the way the teacher treats her

  • How she is disruptive in class without talking

  • The extent of “Nicole’s” silent behavior

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Evidence/ Data Results

  • Communicated verbally: 0

  • Communicated non-verbally: 32

  • Reprimanded: 5

  • Called on by the teacher: 0

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Problem Statement:

Based on my observations, my focus child, “Nicole”,

does not use verbal communication in school.

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Analysis of Behavior

  • Issue of social and cognitive development

  • English learners may not feel comfortable talking in their non-native language

  • This child has been diagnosed with selectivemutism

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What is Selective Mutism?

  • “A complex childhood anxiety disorder characterized by a child’s inability to speak in select social settings such as school.”

  • “These children are able to talk normally in settings where they are comfortable, secure, and relaxed.”

    -Journal of European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

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Diagnostic Criteria

  • Child does not speak in “select” places.

  • He or she can speak normally in at least one environment.

  • The inability to speak interferes with their ability to function in educational and/or social settings.

  • Mutism has continued for 1 month.

  • Mutism is not caused by a communication or mental disorder

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Developmental Level of “Nicole”

  • Participates in all constructive assignments

  • Engages in disruptive behavior

  • Participates in play with peers

  • Difficult to assess learning

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Selective Mutism and Anxiety Disorders

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Vygotsky and Social Cognitive Development

  • “ Thought and language derive from distinct origins but become interwoven in the course of the child’s development.” (Durkin, 1995)

  • “Cognition is social, because its development is interwoven with social activity, itself mediated by the social instrument of language.” (Durkin,1995)

  • Scaffolding and Zone of Proximal Development

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Action Plan andTheoretical Justification

  • Theory of motivation

  • Behavioral learning theory

  • Social learning theory

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Other Suggestions

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Anticipated Outcomes

  • Decrease in anxiety

  • Steps toward more communication

  • Increase in social and cognitive development

  • Easier to assess academic progress

  • Increase in school performance

  • Verbal communication!!

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Problems/ Challenges

  • Difficulty assessing progress

  • Easy to overlook quiet children

  • Requires special attention

  • Custom lesson plans require more time

  • No progress in verbal communication

  • Child suffers in social and cognitive development

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Durkin,K. (1995). Developmental social psychology: from infancy to old age. Malden,MA: Blackwell.

Kearney, C.A., Vecchio, J.L. (2005). Selective mutism in children: comparison to youth with and without anxiety disorders. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 27(1),31-37.

Krysanski, V.L. (2003). A brief review of selective mutism literature. The Journal of psychology, 137 (1), 29-40.

Kumpulainen, K., Rasanen, E., Raaska, H., Somppi, V. (1998). Selective mutism among second graders in elementary school. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 7, 24-29.

The selective mutism group- child anxiety network. July, 2005,

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