Services

Selective Mutism Service

Children with selective mutism (SM), can be exceptionally talkative in the privacy of their homes but unable to speak at all in school and other social situations. Though these children might appear willful, they are actually pathologically self-conscious and experience it as an inability to speak.

The Child Mind Institute's Selective Mutism Service helps children with SM overcome their symptoms through evidence-supported behavioral interventions.

We learn about your child's history, development, and symptoms. We conduct live behavioral observations to best understand his or her ease of talking, with and without strangers present, as well as review video of your child talking at home.


Highlights of Our Treatment

  • We guide the child to do "brave talking" by systematically bringing the therapist closer while the parent and child play, then gradually fade the parent out of the room.
  • We build children's confidence in talking by taking them out of the office and into community settings such as stores and libraries
  • Treatment frequency varies depending on the severity of the symptoms and ranges from once a week to 15-20 hours per week. Intensive treatment weeks are offered for out-of-town families, either at our New York City office or in your home location.
  • For children who might benefit from medication, we partner with their current physicians or a Child Mind Institute pediatric psychopharmacologist.
  • We offer school-based consultation and training for teachers and staff, as well as advocacy for children at school meetings.
  • We also present a series of free monthly training and support workshops for parents and professionals. Our workshops are livestreamed—so you can attend in person or participate online and watch past workshops.

Intensive Treatment

Brave Buddies is an intensive group behavioral therapy program to help children with SM speak in school and other public settings. Using a simulated classroom, the program offers children a safe environment to practice "brave talking." The program takes place during one week in the summer and in daylong programs offered four times a year.

To make an appointment, please call us at 212.308.3118 or request an appointment online.


What Parents Should Know About Selective Mutism

A selective mutism guide for parents and teachers. DOWNLOAD THE GUIDE



Our Team

  • Rachel Busman
    Rachel Busman, PsyD

    Director, Selective Mutism Service, Anxiety and Mood Disorders Center
    Child Mind Institute

    Rachel Busman, PsyD, is a clinical psychologist specializing in the evaluation and treatment of anxiety ...

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  • Laura Kirmayer
    Laura Kirmayer, MA

    Associate Psychologist, ADHD and Disruptive Behavior Disorders Center; Fellow, Selective Mutism Service
    Child Mind Institute

    Laura Kirmayer, MA, is a clinical psychologist with experience in behavior therapy. Laura joins the ...

    Read More
  • Raquel Cumba
    Raquel Cumba, PhD

    Associate Psychologist, Selective Mutism Service
    Child Mind Institute

    Raquel Cumba, PhD, is a clinical psychologist specializing in the evaluation and treatment of anxiety ...

    Read More
  • Natalie Weder
    Natalie Weder, MD

    Pediatric Psychopharmacologist
    Child Mind Institute

    Natalie Weder, MD, is a child and adolescent psychiatrist with extensive experience diagnosing and treating ...

    Read More
  • Ron J. Steingard
    Ron J. Steingard, MD

    Associate Medical Director; Senior Pediatric Psychopharmacologist
    Child Mind Institute

    Ron J. Steingard, MD is a nationally known and respected child psychiatrist, a service innovator ...

    Read More
  • Janine Domingues
    Janine Domingues, PhD

    Associate Psychologist, Anxiety and Mood Disorders Center
    Child Mind Institute

    Janine Domingues, PhD, is a clinical psychologist specializing in the evaluation and treatment of anxiety ...

    Read More
  • Amanda Mintzer
    Amanda Mintzer, PsyD

    Associate Psychologist, Anxiety and Mood Disorders Center
    Child Mind Institute

    Amanda G. Mintzer, PsyD, is a clinical psychologist specializing in the evaluation and treatment of ...

    Read More
  • Shelley Avny
    Shelley Avny, PhD

    Associate Psychologist, Anxiety and Mood Disorders Center
    Child Mind Institute

    Shelley Avny, PhD, is a clinical psychologist specializing in the evaluation and treatment of anxiety ...

    Read More
  • Dominick Auciello
    Dominick Auciello, PsyD

    Neuropsychologist, Learning and Development Center
    Child Mind Institute

    Dominick Auciello, PsyD, is a leading neuropsychologist with extensive expertise providing neuropsychological assessments to children ...

    Read More
  • Michelle Kaplan
    Michelle Kaplan, LMSW

    Clinical Evaluator
    Child Mind Institute

    Michelle S. Kaplan, LMSW, is a graduate of the Silver School of Social Work at ...

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