Evaluating Innovative Treatment Formats for Difficult-to-Treat Child Populations Grant

Evaluating Innovative Treatment Formats for Difficult-to-Treat Child Populations .


  • PROJECT SUMMARY/ABSTRACT This application will foster the development of an independent research career focused on leveraginginnovative treatment formats and techniques to target difficult-to-treat and difficult-to-reach child populations.The PI will gain the necessary skills and research training to conduct rigorous clinical evaluations from anexperimental therapeutics framework for youth populations that present with unique obstacles to care, such ascomplex symptom presentations and/or lack of accessibility to quality care. Selective mutism (SM) is one such complex child disorder that requires specialized care that is notreadily available for most youth in need. SM is an anxiety disorder characterized by an inability to speak incertain social situations, despite ability to speak in familiar situations. Despite its low prevalence, SM results insevere impairment in children's social and academic functioning; because most affected children fail to speakin school, they are often insufficiently evaluated for appropriate academic services, and do not get their day-to-day needs met in the classroom. As a low base-rate disorder, expert care for SM is not broadly accessible, andthe vast majority of affected children do not receive appropriate services. To address problems of access toquality care for many low base rate disorders, expert providers are increasingly offering intensive treatmentoptions, in which individuals travel from across the world for brief (e.g., 1 week) periods of all-day sessions intreatments not offered, or not offered with similar quality and competency, in the patient's local community.Despite tremendous clinical advances in the development of group intensive behavior therapy formats for thetreatment of SM, to date research has not evaluated intensive treatments for SM in a controlled trial. The project at the center of this NRSA training grant entails a pilot waitlist controlled trial evaluating aone-week group intensive behavior therapy in a diverse population of children SM (N=30) delivered over thesummer. Youth will be randomized to either immediate SM intensive group behavior therapy (IGBT), or to awaitlist control (WL). Aim 1 will examine feasibility of and parental satisfaction with the program by examiningdropout and daily attendance rates, standardized consumer satisfaction and barriers to treatment participationmeasures, and costs incurred as a result of participation in the program. Aim 2 will examine reductions in SMsymptoms (as well as overall anxiety and functioning) across the two conditions after one week and potentialpredictors of treatment response. Aim 3 will examine maintenance of treatment response by evaluatingwhether or not the intensive group treatment program improves children's SM symptoms (as well as overallanxiety and academic functioning) across the two groups in the classroom 8 weeks into the following schoolyear. Finally exploratory Aim 4 will examine individual differences in treatment response related to cultural andsociodemographic factors.

date/time interval

  • August 14, 2017 - August 13, 2018

sponsor award ID

  • 1F31MH112296-01A1



  • Acute
  • Address
  • Affect
  • Aftercare
  • Age
  • Anxiety
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Attention
  • Behavior Therapy
  • Caring
  • Child
  • Child Care
  • Clinic
  • Clinical
  • Code
  • Communities
  • Competence
  • Complex
  • Consumer Satisfaction
  • Destinations
  • Deve
  • base
  • behavior observation
  • career
  • control trial
  • cost