Selective mutism is a severe and complex anxiety disorder that affects 1 in every 140 children between preschool and 2nd grade. These children typically talk freely at home with their families but their anxiety prevents them from communicating in some or all social settings, particularly at school. Whilst the condition closely resembles social phobia, standard cognitive-behavioural treatments in the clinic similar to those used for social phobia generally have limited effectiveness. Treatment needs to be fairly intensive and prolonged and requires a multidisciplinary approach with a school program being an essential component of treatment. The program implemented by the Selective Mutism Clinic uses a three tiered approach to treatment that provides skills training to the classroom teacher, parent(s), and child.
This workshop will aim to:
- build participants’ understanding about selective mutism from preschool to high-school-aged children
- explore how to modify typical cognitive-behavioural treatments for anxiety disorders to suit this population,
- teach a 5-stage ‘communication hierarchy’ that underlies the treatment program, and
- teach various practical goals to use at each stage of communication within the school environment and other social situations.
Additionally, in line with the Selective Mutism Clinic’s three-tiered approach, strategies will be discussed that:
- Train the classroom teacher to be an effective coach for the child and to implement an intensive school program that targets the communication anxiety. How to prepare the school and select a classroom teacher who will maximise the child’s chance of success.
- Build the child’s own knowledge about their anxiety, speech anxiety, and other emotions, and specific skills to address these, and
- Target the complex family factors that play a role in the mutism, and train the parent to respond appropriately to their child’s emotional needs and build the child’s communication in social settings.
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About the presenter(s)
Dr. Woodcock is a Clinical Psychologist working in private practice in Sydney with children and adults. She has worked as a clinician, supervisor, and trainer for over 15 years in the area of selective mutism. She completed her training at the University of New South Wales and later worked with children with selective mutism and other severe psychiatric conditions at a tertiary service for children and families. She is founder and director of the Selective Mutism Clinic in Sydney (www.selectivemutism.com.au), which provides training seminars for parents and schools, supervision for professionals, and treatment for children with selective mutism in Sydney as well as for children throughout Australia through their ‘Outreach program’.
Please note first five students to contact the organiser for Promo code and register will receive special price of $220