What accommodations and/or modification should we place in an IEP for students that present with selective mutism?
The very first thing they are going to need is a pullout with a key worker. Typically in the IEP, they would be pulled out by either the SLP or the mental health person in the school, whether that is the school psychologist, social worker, or the school counselor. They would get pullout services with that person. Research shows that it really needs to be frequent. I recommend, and research backs me up, on three times a week for 15 minutes minimally. You could do two times a week for 30 minutes, but you are going to have decreased gains, because it is not as frequent. The better picture would be five days a week for five or 10 minutes; maybe at the beginning of the school day. That is probably the biggest thing to be put in IEP.
When it comes to accommodations or modifications, you are going to want to add in how the child is going to obtain points for participation projects. How are they going to obtain points for group projects or oral presentations? You do not want them to be graded down for not being able to speak. That would not be fair. Preferential seating is one way. I like to seat children away from the door and towards the front of the classroom, because when they do start talking, I want them to be right next to the teacher where 30 little heads are not turning around and looking at them. Also I want them to be away from the doorway, where they are nervous about other people overhearing what they are saying. There is an organization that I am the president of this year, called Selective Mutism Group (http://www.selectivemutism.org/). If you go to the website there is an online library that has a list of free documents. One of them is called 504 Plan Recommendations. Those are accommodations; it is an example 504 plan that you can write into an IEP within the regular classroom setting.
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.