Speaking from personal experience as a special educator and a Montessori teacher, there are many ways to reach children who are not talking. By creating a relationship with all the students, you meet them where they are at. With selective mutism, you do not expect the child to respond, but rather build that connection in a nonverbal way. You give more instruction without words. At the three year old stage, as well as for older children, you prepare lots of practical life and sensorial opportunities. You do lots of my turn, your turn. Saying things like, “Watch me,” followed with, “Your turn.” You do not draw attention to the child’s lack of response.
When children are learning a new language they go about the environment speaking their native language. In fact, they often go through a silent period then start using the new language. During the silence Montessori educators accept the child’s current situation.
Selected mutism is silence for another reason, but Montessori educators realize there is power and beauty and learning in the silence! Maria Montessori talks about this often. By allowing time and continuing to build connection and a loving environment of acceptance, there is always an avenue to follow the child.
Some Very Therapeutic Works Require No Talking
Whether you are a child who is working to be comfortable in a new school setting or you are an adult who finds it challenging to interact with others all day long, there is a real comfort in working on a big jigsaw puzzle. Whether the end result is a colorful 1000 piece puzzle frame on your wall or a set of 500 piece jigsaw puzzles that your family puts together and then tears apart every holiday, there are many people who find that they can relax sitting at a table with a jigsaw puzzle. And while there are some younger, silent friends who love the challenge of difficult puzzles, there are also many adults who relish the thought of enjoy some easy puzzles, like crosswords or word searches, at the end of a taxing day at the office.
Even if the goal is not the artistic completion of a 1000 piece puzzle framed for the family room, it is important to remember to provide yourself the time that is needed to relax and regroup. Some of the latest research indicates that the neurotransmitter, dopamine, is produced when doing puzzles. This is one of the reasons why scientists and researchers think that puzzle work can be both satisfying and relaxing. You do not need to have a foal of completing a 1000 piece puzzle frame every week or month, however, to enjoy this activity. In fact, there are some office areas where a conference room often has a dedicated corner to an ongoing jigsaw puzzle. And even though most individuals do not see the end results of that puzzle, they are often found stopping by for a few minutes a day, finding the exact spot for one to two pieces.
In addition to 1000 piece puzzle frames providing unique decorations for many spaces in a home, there are also many other ways that puzzles can be used. For instance, if you have an older relative who is not always able to communicate, especially late in the day, a jigsaw puzzle may provide the perfect way to still spend time with that person.
Childhood Learning Continues to be a Time of Rapid Growth
Research often cited by elementary educators is that the brain makes the most connections among its cells before a child turns the age of 10. For this reason, there are many teachers and administrators who want to make sure there are always opportunities available. In addition to putting the brain into a meditative state, research indicates puzzles activate the brains while also providing psychological relation. Interestingly enough, the oldest known puzzle is a dissection of a square mentioned by Archimedes around 250 BC. The fascination with puzzles, however, is an interest that many people have from the time that they are young to when they are older. It can also help many enjoy time in the same space with family and friends.