Children Who are Selectively Silenced (Muted)

Posted on February 8, 2017. Filed under: eci814, Masters |

After this week’s readings about selective mutism, I was moved to write a song. This was a song that was trying to describe the pain and tension in a child’s life when they are labelled a ‘selective mute’ even though they are just an English as an additional language learner. Here is a breakdown of the song. You will need to open it in a new tab, and then follow along with the breakdown.

  1. Measures 1-4 Depicts a baby.  The child is just finding their vocal chords and learning how to respond to their caregivers.
  2. Measures 5-8 The child is moving to toddlerhood where he/she is interacting and learning at an exponential rate.
  3. Measures 9-12 The child has learned a large extent of their language. They can dialogue, play, and interact within their language. The child has a wide vocabulary (depicted by the quick 16th notes and a few new notes added to the arpeggio)
  4. Measures 13-16 The child’s main tongue is developed and strong, but the tension builds (the notes get lower) as the child enters school. There is a definite tension as the child enters the new surrounding, and chaos builds as the child is thrown into something unknown and foreign.
  5. Measures 17-20 The child’s language abruptly stops. The child begins to acquire the additional language. Teachers think this is selective mutism, but the child is not choosing when to not talk per se, they are in a silent period where their thinking and learning doesn’t stop, but requires a silence that helps them learn and grow in this new language. (The left hand chords have changed and there is less of a minor sound, and more of a major chord which depicts hope rather than tension.)
  6. The last chord is held until there is no more sound left. This is to show that it is not the end of the story. The story and the languages continue…

Unfortunately

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