Selective Mutism Strategy- Sticker Charts
Sticker charts are something that many children love to see and use. I remember being in school and seeing my chart hanging on the wall with those of other students. I can recall the feeling of great success when I was able to put a sticker on the chart, and the sense of accomplishment when I was able to fill up a whole row– let alone the whole chart! When working with children who have selective mutism, something as simple as a sticker chart can be helpful in many ways.
First, have your child or student choose a piece of construction paper. Next, have them write their name on it however they please. The size or design of the name doesn’t matter, because this will be used as their personal sticker chart that they will carry around. After that, allow the child to choose a few sheets of stickers to put in a bag that they can carry along with their chart. Choosing a favorite character sticker can help boost their motivation. These stickers will be used whenever the child makes some type of verbal communication, whether that is mouthing a word, whispering, talking to their buddy or the teacher. When your student makes any kind of verbal communication, praise them and allow them to pick out a sticker to put on their paper. Continual praise is an important step in this process. Using short phrases such as, “You said you wanted blue, thanks for letting me know!” will help reinforce the communication.
At the end of the day, have your child count up their stickers and report their number back to you. At this point, you can choose to have your child pick a small prize and make another goal for tomorrow; or have them wait to choose a prize at the end of the week when they “cash in” their charts. Using sticker charts is a simple way to help motivate a child to use verbal communication. As the weeks go on and you notice your child increasing their communication, you can start to phase back from the stickers and charts. Eventually you may realize that the stickers do not matter to the child anymore, and they are ready for the next steps.
Written by: Salina Bisson, LLMSW
#HorizonsDRC #SelectiveMutism #StickerCharts #ChildMotivation #VerbalCommunication
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