Understanding the Complexity of ASD and Selective Mutism with Dr. Tracey Ward

Dr. Tracey Ward

Connections Behavior Planning and Intervention welcomes Dr. Tracey Ward for a live webinar to discuss Selective Mutism and its relationship to Autism Spectrum Disorders.

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.


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

Cost to Attend: $39.99 (includes registration and CEU’s)

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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