More than ‘Shy’: Helping Children with Selective Mutism Find their Voice

Social workers, teachers, therapists, and parents will learn how to identify selective mutism and how to employ evidence-based interventions.

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Description

Identifying a child with selective mutism (SM) can be a tricky task. Parents and educators often see varying levels of communication across settings-- and all too often these children are identified as 'shy' or 'introverted'. Educators are often lead to believe that a child will grow out of their 'shyness,' and parents struggle to know how much to push a child in order to encourage growth. 

This workshop will help social workers, teachers, therapists, and parents learn to identify SM, as well as the connection between selective mutism and other anxiety disorders. The session will clarify facts and myths about the disorder, and will offer evidence-based interventions that help children with SM feel confident using their voice in the classroom, community, and home. 

About the Instructor

Ritamaria Laird, L.C.P.C., is Clinical Director at Individual and Family Connection in Chicago. She received her master's degree in Clinical Psychology with a focus on Child and Adolescent Psychology from Roosevelt University. She strives to identify her client’s individual strengths and unique way of viewing and understanding the world in order to help them reach their fullest potential. She highly values the relationship between the therapist and the client and believes in meeting the client where they are at the start of therapy.

Ritamaria is Theraplay Certified, and utilizes models such as Behavioral Therapy, Attachment Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Play Therapy, and Narrative Therapy. She specializes with working with children with anxiety disorders. Other areas of focus include: Selective Mutism, Behavior Issues, Oppositional Defiance, Trauma, Anger Management, Attention Deficit (ADHD), Depression, Divorce, Loss or Grief, Parenting, and Self-esteem.

Objectives

In this workshop, participants will:

  • learn the definition, features, and symptoms of selective mutism
  • fully understand how SM presents in young children
  • learn SM's relation to other anxiety disorders
  • learn effective strategies for intervention

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