The Selective Mutism Clinic provides both assessment and treatment to children and young people with selective mutism. The Selective Mutism Clinic also provides consultation to a range of professionals including educators and wellbeing staff (in childcare, early education, and school settings) and to psychologists and other mental health workers across public and private settings.
Children and young people that attend The Selective Mutism Clinic undergo a comprehensive assessment that informs an intervention plan specific to the individual needs of your child and family. Assessment includes standardised screening and assessment tools that measure social, emotional, behavioural and developmental issues known to be associated with selective mutism. Where possible, information is gathered from both parents and educators to gain a detailed understanding of the child’s current levels of social communication functioning across settings.
Gold standard therapeutic interventions draw from evidence-based research specific to selective mutism. Cognitive strategies include developing an awareness of one’s thoughts and worries associated with speaking, understanding and recognising body symptoms associated with anxiety and utilising detective thinking and disputation. In addition, a key treatment component involves developing step-by-step exposure hierarchies that utilise behavioural techniques such as stimulus fading/sliding-in, shaping, and desensitisation. Given most children find talking within their education setting difficult, interventions often include working closely with educators and wellbeing staff.
Selective mutism is not diagnosed when a child’s presenting difficulties can better be explained by a developmental difficulty (e.g., Autism Spectrum Disorder, a severe language disorder, or an intellectual disability). Moreover, these children respond more favourably to interventions aimed at targeting their specific developmental needs.
Clinicians that work within The Selective Mutism Clinic have done additional professional development to deliver excellence in care. Given children with selective mutism often fear new situations and unfamiliar people, clinicians take extra care to increase a child’s sense of security when they come to the clinic, including parents remaining in the room and having a range of non-verbal activities to engage the child.
The Selective Mutism Clinic operates from both Ivanhoe and Hampton. For more information or to make an appointment, please contact either clinic.