Double Feature: Treatment Considerations for Anxiety in ASD, PLUS Understanding the Complexity of ASD and Selective Mutism with Dr. Tracey Ward

Live Webinar
Dr. Tracey WardNovember 3, 2021 - November 4, 2021 | 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Connections Behavior Planning and Intervention welcomes Dr. Tracey Ward for a pair of live webinars to discuss Anxiety, Selective Mutism and their relationship to Autism Spectrum Disorders.

These events were live on Wednesday, November 03 (Anxiety), and Thursday, November 04 (Selective Mutism), from 1:00 – 3:00 pm, Pacific Time.

About the Presenter

Dr. Tracey Ward is a licensed psychologist in Seattle, WA, and a provider at The Seattle Clinic. She is also the clinical director of Brave Seattle, which focuses on providing intensive treatment camps for children with selective mutism and other anxiety disorders. She received her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Seattle Pacific University and completed her pre-doctoral internship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Seattle Children’s Hospital within the University of Washington, School of Medicine. Dr. Ward’s clinical practice spans both assessment and therapy for children and teens in the areas of obsessive-compulsive disorder, challenging behaviors in young children, autism spectrum disorders, and anxiety disorders – with a particular expertise in selective mutism. Dr. Ward specializes in evidence-based treatments that include cognitive behavioral therapy, PCIT-SM, exposure-based therapy, behavioral parent training, and school and community-based interventions and training.  Dr. Ward has a long history of working with neurodiverse children and teens from being ABA behavioral tech in college to diagnosing and treating individuals with ASD, ADHD, learning and cognitive disorders in her private practice. To learn more are Dr. Ward, click here.

Abstract – Session 1 – Treatment Considerations for Anxiety in ASD

Click here to register for Session 1

Children with ASD often do not display age and neurotypical symptoms of anxiety. Rates of anxiety disorders for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) vary between 11% to 84%, making this a common comorbid problem for youth with ASD (White et al., 2009). Further, there are often overlapping characteristics of ASD and anxiety, such has rigidity, emotion dysregulation, or social difficulties that create difficultly around identifying intervention targets specific to anxiety. It is important to distinguish between what is “clinically significant impairments” vs. neurodiversity to provide appropriate and ethical intervention. This talk will highlight common anxiety disorders, how anxiety presents in ASD, and risk factors for developing anxiety in the neurodiverse population. The audience will understand evidence-based interventions for anxiety disorders (e.g., Craske, 2014) and how to implement evidence-based treatment of anxiety within intervention plans.

Learning Objectives

  1. Describe how anxiety presents in a neurodiversity population
  2. Describe appropriate evidence-based treatment approaches for anxiety
  3. Discuss integrating evidence-based anxiety treatment into inventions plans

Abstract – Session 2 – Understanding the Complexity of ASD and Selective Mutism

Click here to register for Session 2

Rates of anxiety disorders for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) vary between 11% to 84%, making this a common comorbid problem for youth with ASD (White et al., 2009). To date, few studies have explored the relationship between ASD and selective mutism (SM). One study of a sample of children presenting to an ASD specialty clinic, identified that 63% of children with ASD also met criteria for SM (Steffenburg, Steffenburg, Gillberg, & Billstedt, 2018). This captures the need for improved clinical conceptualization and assessment procedures in children with overlapping symptom presentations (e.g., social communication difficulties). Muris & Ollendik (2020) published a paper, which may have created more confusion for both professionals and parents, who are desperate for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Better clarification is needed to assist mental health professionals when they are evaluating or providing treatment for a child with SM and ASD. Diagnosis drives treatment, and the correct identification of one or more psychiatric disorders have profound impacts on treatment trajectory and prognosis.

This focused address will discuss several important areas when individuals present with symptoms that could be consistent with ASD, SM or both. Topics discussed will include 1) assessment considerations, including differential diagnosis 2) interventions that are best practices for children with ASD and SM 3) how to best manage and support parental expectations. This discussion will also help to guide an initial discussion of best-practices for this population.

Learning Objectives

  1. Describe the clinical presentation of individuals with Selective Mutism
  2. Describe appropriate treatments for individuals with ASD and Selective Mutism
  3. Describe adequate psychoeducation and clinical recommendations for parents and other professionals regarding the best clinical care for children with, or suspected of ASD and Selective Mutism

Number of CEU’s available: 2.0 BACB Learning CEU’s per event

Cost to Attend: $40 (includes registration and CEU’s) per event


For questions, challenges with registration, or any other needed information, please contact Dusty, Director of Continuing Education and ACE Coordinator for CBPI, LLC, at continuingeducation@connections-behavior.com.

Connections Behavior Planning & Intervention, LLC, is a BACB-Approved ACE Provider (Provider # OP-17-2781). The BACB does not directly sponsor or endorse this event, its speakers, or its content.

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