Treating Selective Mutism in Children with ASD

Filmed April 2017 – edited into 2 parts; total 16 minutes

It is well-known that anxiety disorders co-exist with ASD but much less is known about how to treat anxiety specific to speaking – that is, selective mutism (SM) – in the context of ASD. This is problematic as SM compounds core social-communication deficits in ASD. While there is an urgent need to treat SM in youth with ASD, there is also a lack of skilled clinicians with expertise in both disorders.

This 15 minute presentation provides information about the treatment of SM in children with ASD, using evidence-based behavioural intervention for SM modified for ASD. This presentation offers suggestions for clinicians treating SM in youth with ASD.

Learning Objectives

  • Review the core aspects of Selective Mutism treatment
  • Examine how core symptoms of ASD may influence treatment
  • Review clinical considerations for the behavioural treatment of Selective Mutism in youth with ASD.
  • Explore the utility of this treatment approach for school-aged youth with ASD and Selective Mutism.

Ainsley Boudreau, PhD

Dr. Ainsley Boudreau is a Post-Doctoral Clinical Research Fellow at BC Children’s Hospital. She has a Master’s degree in School Psychology, and graduated from Dalhousie University with a PhD in Clinical Psychology. Her research aims to advance treatment and other clinical work in neurodevelopmental disorders (primarily ASD, as well as tic/Tourette disorders and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).


Part 1: Diagnostic Criteria; Selective Mutism Frequency; Importance of Early Treatment

Part 2: Evidence-based Treatment for Selective Mutism