For more than fifteen years, I have been committed to providing clinical services to children/adolescents with selective mutism, their families, and third parties involved in their care (e.g., school staff, mental health professionals, health professionals).   Through my role as Director of a specialty clinic devoted to this population at McMaster Children’s Hospital (2001-2009), I came to appreciate both the shared experiences and heterogeneity of these children through  direct clinical work and related research endeavours.  With my colleagues at the Children’s Hospital, I wrote a book intended for parents and professionals working to help such children overcome their fear of speaking (i.e., McHolm, A. et al, 2005. Helping your child with selective mutism:  Practical steps to overcome a fear of speaking.  California:  New Harbinger Publications Inc.). 

Specialty Services - Selective Mutism

Dr. Shigeki Sonoyama & his colleagues visiting from the University of Tsukuba, Japan

(March 2017)

The book has since been published in five languages and has afforded me the opportunity to gain further exposure to children with selective mutism, their families and the professionals serving them from our international community.   I remain eager and passionate in furthering my understanding of this population, developing and providing effective clinical services, and serving as an advocate for these often misunderstood and overlooked young people.

Specialty Services Available:

  • Initial clinical/diagnostic assessment

  • Parent/caregiver consultation

  • Third party consultation (e.g., consultation to school staff, mental health professionals etc.)

  • Individual therapy for older children/youth

  • Training of professionals (i.e., educators, health & allied health professionals) in effective approaches to assessment/intervention through in-services and skills-training workshops

  • Systems-level consultation (i.e., provide assistance to agencies regarding service delivery models)