Selective mutism (SM) is a relatively rare anxiety disorder, characterized by a child's consistent failure to speak in various specific social situations (e.g., at school), while being able to speak in other situations (e.g., at home). Prevalence rates vary from 0.2% to 1.9%. SM is usually identified between the ages of 3–5 years. It is often underdiagnosed and consequently children receive no or inadequate treatment, with negative consequences for school and social functioning. If left untreated, SM can result in complex, chronic anxiety and/or mood disorders in adolescence and impaired working careers in adulthood. Currently, no evidence-based treatment for SM is available in the Netherlands, therefore this study aims to [1] test the effectiveness of a treatment protocol for SM that is carried out at school, and to [2] identify baseline predictors for treatment success. This article presents the design of a randomized controlled trial into the effectiveness of a behavioral therapeutic protocol for selective mutism in children (age 3–18). The expected study population is n = 76. Results of the treatment group (n = 38) will be compared with those of a waiting list control group (WCG) (n = 38). Pre and post treatment assessments will be conducted at comparable moments in both groups, with baseline assessment at intake, the second assessment at 12 weeks and post-assessment at the end of treatment. If proven effective, we aim to structurally implement this protocol as evidence-based treatment for SM.

Anxiety, Behavioral therapy, Children, Selective mutism, Treatment at school,
Contemporary Clinical Trials Communications

Rodrigues Pereira, C. (C.), Ensink, J.B.M. (Judith B.M.), Güldner, M.G. (Max G.), Kan, K.J. (Kees J.), de Jonge, M.V, Lindauer, R.J. L, & Utens, E.M.W.J. (2020). Effectiveness of a behavioral treatment protocol for selective mutism in children: Design of a randomized controlled trial. Contemporary Clinical Trials Communications, 19. doi:10.1016/j.conctc.2020.100644