What is Selective Mutism?

Do you know anyone who is capable of speaking but is mute in some situations? How about a child who is a chatter box at home, but does not speak inside the school or only able to whisper in the public? Do you know someone who reminded you of Raj, who is unable to speak to ladies (or selected people), in the sitcom the Big Bang Theory? If so, this person may have Selective Mutism (SM), and we may be able to provide resource to help! SM is an anxiety condition in which a person is unable to speak in social situation despite fully capable of speaking in private setting. It primarily affects school aged children. Thus, despite being able to freely converse at home, children with SM persistently fail to speak in social contexts due to immense anxiety. Because the onset of SM coincides with school entry (2.5 – 5 years), it paralyzes a child’s ability to communicate inside the school right from the start, and can negatively impact a child’s educational, emotional and social experiences. The fact that many educators are unfamiliar with this disorder, SM presents a significant challenge to educators who consistently fail to successfully entice the child to speak or communicate.

Selective Mutism Workshop for Educators / Professionals

This workshop aims to deliver world class selective mutism (SM) knowledge to all. All health care professionals and educators including the SLPs and CDAs are welcomed to attend this one day workshop. You will learn all about SM and know how to create an individualized school-based intervention program along with pedagogical approaches to help your students to start speaking in school. Topics of discussion include causes of SM, various intervention technique including those with phsychoeducational and pharmacological components. Successful studies, including Dr. Bork’s 8-week program within the school setting will be highlighted.

Selective Mutism Workshop for Parents / Family

A major part of your child’s mutism is a learned adjustment to his/her (anxiety-provoking social) environment, and been reinforced over time. In order for your child to break the mutism cycle, his/her social environment requires gradual and structured modification. While SM is most predominate inside the school and the focus of the intervention should occur within the school to treat “symptom at its source”, parents must be prepare to become the interventionist outside the school. This workshop will arm parents not only with empirical based knowledge but also those of Dr. Bork’s (mother of 3 children with SM) personal experience of helping her children overcome SM.

Selective Mutism Workshop for Treating Professionals / Psychologists / Pediatricians

This workshop aims to disseminate various empirical-based  treatments for SM, along with detailed information of the pros and cons of each. Specific information such as etiology, prevalence, onset as well as diagnostic criteria will be discussed. Also, specific in-patient and out-patient treatment techniques along with a detailed discussion of a multi-model treatment approach that are rooted in behavioural, psychological, and biological mechanism. Specific modalities including various exposure based, modeling, and when to involve medication (and which type) will be discussed.