Selective mutism (SM) is a failure to speak when speaking is expected (e.g., school and public settings) despite having the ability to speak. Children with selective mutism are often very chatty at home and then become uncharacteristically quiet in school or in public. Conceptualized as an anxiety disorder, SM is essentially a fear of speaking in specific settings. Exposure tasks (e.g., speaking exposures) can be effective in reducing mutism and increasing speaking across people, places, and activities by activating extinction learning. Extinction learning is a process whereby a new association between the expectation to speak and the absence of the feared aversive outcome is formed, weakening the association between speaking and fear. When working with your child with selective mutism, it may help to understand the extinction learning process behind doing speaking exposures so that, as a parent, you can understand how to maximize extinction learning and keep the new learning accessible for your child’s continued growth and generalization of speaking across people, places, and activities.
** This event is being presented thanks to a generous grant from the TJ Maxx Foundation. No CEs will be provided for attending. **
- Be able to recognize selective mutism as an anxiety disorder
- Be introduced to the concept of exposure tasks to reduce mutism and how extinction learning will support the child's ability to speak in a variety of settings