Since desensitization is a slow process for selective mutism intervention, could iPads® help increase fading for more people or more environments?
I certainly use iPads with children. I use technology, many different apps and we will even tape our voices. I will try to engage them in that process. Desensitization, as you said, is a slow process. To be honest, the thing that we find is the most beneficial in terms of speeding up desensitization is intensive intervention. Recently I started doing intensive interventions, and when I say intensive, I mean I come in the school and ask the school for permission to take the child for an entire day, or two or three days. We put all schoolwork on hold for this child and the goal for those two or three days is practicing our "brave talking" as much as we can in as many places as we can with as many people as we can. We find that children with selective mutism tend to be slow to warm up, and then they need a lot of intensity in terms of the intervention. They need that stretched out intervention. They need to stay with it. If we break it up into many small pieces, like seeing me for 45 minutes once a week, it is not as beneficial as if I go in and do four hours of intervention with the child. They are already warmed up. I do not have to worry about that again, and we are in the moment and we are making progress. It is easier to keep their motivation and attention. That is the best thing I have found for lowering the amount of time that is necessary with desensitization.
Dr. Aimee Kotrba is a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in the expert assessment and treatment of Selective Mutism and Social Anxiety. She serves as the President of the Selective Mutism Group (SMG) Board of Directors and is a nationally recognized speaker offering local and national workshops on the identification and treatment of Selective Mutism for parents, professionals, and school personnel. Dr. Kotrba is the owner of Thriving Minds Behavioral Health in Brighton Michigan, offering expert treatment of Selective Mutism.