October is Selective Mutism Awareness Month

Children who have Selective Mutism are bright, verbal children who withhold language in “select” social situations. Most of them speak freely at home and only become mute at school or with non-family members. When they are mute, they often assume an odd appearance: they become stiff, avoid eye contact and often grimace or turn away.

This complex childhood disorder usually begins before a child turns five and is considered a social anxiety disorder that can lead to isolation, withdrawal and eventually failure at school.

Knowing that positive results can be gained from early intervention, the Therapeutic Nursery at the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades specializes in treating children with selective mutism. The school provides individual weekly play therapy and other therapeutic activities that are designed to help them regulate their anger and anxiety. By addressing the child’s underlying emotional issues, the school has experienced noteworthy success in helping these children overcome their symptoms and successfully transition to a mainstream class setting.

The Therapeutic Nursery is a nationally recognized parent-child program for bright preschool children with a variety of developmental problems. The curriculum includes a comprehensive social skills program designed to help children develop appropriate social skills and regulate their emotions and behavior, including anxiety. The program is created around a therapeutic approach. For more information about the JCC Therapeutic Nursery please call 201-407-1497 or tn@jccotp.org or www.jccotp.org/tn