The School Challenge for Children with Select Mutism - Christmas Party
Hooray! The Christmas party prepared by students and several volunteer parents was about to begin. The classroom’s door was all wrapped up like a giant present in a candy cane patterned paper with a huge silver bow attached to it. Opening the door you’ll find that the usually quiet classroom has now filled with cheerful laughter. Several snow balls were dangling or high or low from the ceiling, large "Merry Christmas" banner was hanging on the window curtains. There was a Christmas tree in the classroom corner. The lights on the branches were twinkling welcoming all that come in. It was decorated with ornaments and greeting cards made from the students. Mrs. Harberson, wearing a reindeer headband in a red sweater embroidered with Rudolph, was still helping students hang their crafts onto the tree. The gifts were piled up under the tree. The students tried to guess what was under the pretty wrapping paper and looked forward to the gift exchange. Several tables were pulled together against the back wall. They were covered with red and green tablecloth and sparkling snowflake-shaped confetti. Water, juices and cupcakes neatly displayed. The mini cakes have so many flavors, vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry, and so tempting that you want to taste each and every kind. Of course, gingersnap cookie was also one cannot go without. Plates and cups had poinsettia prints on them reminding you it was Christmas celebration. The entire classroom was divided into several game stations. Mary and Sam were lining up to play “Pin The Nose On The Snowman”. A moment ago Sam put the nose on the snowman's head, he wanted to play again. This time it must be on target. Tom was looking at Linda who was drawing a greeting card. He said something funny. Linda responded in a blushing. There were students talking about their list of wishes written to Santa by the Chess station. The students were laughing and joking. Some had splotches of cake all over their faces. Someone had popped balloons. The air was full of festive feeling. There was however, one person who was not celebrating in this lively environment. She was Amy. Amy sat quietly at her desk slouching and eating cookies, watching Mary stick the nose to the snowman's stomach. Her mouth curled up unnoticeably. Amy also wanted to participate, but looking at so many strange parents and schoolmates, "It's better to eat here... unless someone calls me" Amy said to herself.
As if Amy's wish was heard, Sophia and Catherine ran over and said, "Hey, Amy, the teacher asked us to help her with passing the gifts" Sophia smiled and told Amy. Catherine took Amy’s hand and dragged her towards the gifts corner. "Come on, let's do it together." Amy nodded. From the package, she guessed what was inside and handed it to Linda. "Yeah! Pinkie Pie! It's just what I wanted. Thank you Santa! Thank you Amy!" Amy blushed, and replied "You're welcome”. Their conversation drew the attention of the other children. They came in a horde. Dylan got a hot wheel model car and jumped for joy. Andy got "Snow White" book. He sighed, "Thank you, Amy!" Amy grinned, "You are welcome." Amy passed gifts to her classmates one by one with a big smile on her face. Even when Sophia left, it seemed OK to Amy. After that, Amy went to help distribute food. “Chocolate cake, guaranteed to make you smile.” Amy handed the plate to Andy. "Can you get me one too? I want vanilla, thank you,” said Sophie who was playing chess with Andy. "Okay, just a moment," Amy responded with a smile. So Amy distributed snacks and drinks for a while, helped with the dishes, and walked around in the classroom among the activity groups. It was busy and no time for rest. Yet Amy was so happy because helping others was Amy's favorite thing. Thanks to Amy’s parents’ careful plans and her friends’ support, the teacher also praised Amy at the end of the party for her excellent participation, Amy had a great time.
Strategy: Parents tell Amy in advance what activities the party may have, and what may happen. Prepare yourself in advance. Parents also need to communicate with the teacher in advance and divide the activities into several small groups. Use the fade-in/fade-out method. When Amy was alone, do let conversation partners and private conversation partners take Amy to participate in the small circle activities. Assign her small task to give Amy a sense of accomplishment.
Jun Reitman and Albert Wang wechat: junwang08837 firstname.lastname@example.org SunnymindED.org