About the Conference:
Children suffering from selective mutism (SM) manifest social communication deficits based on the setting and expectations from others within a setting. Parents, therapists and school staff are often perplexed as to how to help the mute child. Dr. Shipon-Blum, an expert in treating children and adolescents with SM and developer of Social Communication Anxiety Treatment® (S-CAT®), conceptualizes SM as a social communication anxiety disorder where not speaking merely skims the surface of the difficulties children with SM face. Dr. Shipon-Blum has found that children with SM can make significant progress and transition to verbal communication when provided with a comprehensive treatment that focuses on the whole child and improving the child's social communication and engagement skills.
The school environment is most often the setting where children present as mute. Progress in the therapy room and home will not automatically generalize to the educational setting without the implementation of specific treatment goals and adult facilitation from educational staff. The treatment of SM in the school setting requires a team approach involving the clinician, parents, and educational staff. Through collaboration and consistent implementation of specific treatment strategies and goals, children with SM can transition to verbal communication in the school setting.
This presentation will review the importance of the initial evaluation and assessment process that are critical in developing an effective treatment plan for a child with SM Next, the impact of SM on a childs academic performance and ability to make progress and the need for accommodations and services through an Individualized Education Program or 504 Plan are discussed. A review of common comorbid disorders (e.g., speech and language disorder, sensory processing disorder, developmental delays, etc.) seen in children with SM and sample accommodations and interventions to address these challenges in the school setting will also be discussed. Finally, the presentation will identify and describe effective treatment strategies and interventions in treating SM in the school setting.