Tracey Ward, PhD
Address: 1700 Westlake Ave N, Suite 400 | Seattle, WA 98109
Welcome! I am Dr. Tracey Ward and I am thrilled to be a part of The Seattle Clinic for my postdoctoral fellowship. I am excited to share a bit about my background and expertise so you can determine whether I’m a good fit for you.
I have two primary areas of expertise which I focus on: (1) therapy and (2) assessment of autism spectrum disorder. Most of my focus includes providing therapy for children and teens with obsessive compulsive disorder, a broad range of anxiety disorders— with a specialty in selective mutism—and providing behavioral parent training to parents of younger children (3-8) with challenging behaviors.
I am passionate about helping children and teens overcome anxiety and work towards enjoying their life to the fullest. I have trained extensively in evidence-based treatment for anxiety disorders and OCD within the Seattle Children’s Hospital Mood and Anxiety Program and the Intensive Outpatient Treatment Program for OCD. My treatment approach primarily includes exposure-based therapies, such as exposure and response prevention (ERP). As a cognitive-behavioral therapist, I continuously evaluate empirically supported research and apply it to therapy in a meaningful and engaging way. I incorporate warmth, humor, silliness into my work with individuals, aligning with kids and teens to meet them where they are in order to help them reach their goals. I work alongside kids, challenging them to move outside their comfort zone and take charge of their fears so they can build the skills to conquer whatever holds them back. I tell kids, “If I ask you to do something hard, you bet I’m going to do it too!” I participate in all exposures with kids, whether it is asking someone for directions, stumbling in public to challenge social anxiety, holding a spider, or eating something off the floor to challenge worries about contamination! I feel extremely grateful to work with children and teens in this important time in their lives. I am passionate and dedicated to help them achieve their goals and move on to great adventures.
I specialize in treating children with selective mutism, an anxiety disorder in which children have fear of speaking in public despite the ability to speak. I have trained extensively in both Seattle and Chicago with leading experts in the field, co-developed a Selective Mutism treatment group at the Seattle Children’s Hospital, led intensive treatment sessions and camps, and provided outpatient therapy. Selective mutism requires a specific treatment approach that includes gradual exposure to speaking that enables children to become comfortable speaking, as well as parent-child interaction therapy adapted for selective mutism (PCIT-SM). I work extensively with parents and teachers to provide behavioral parent training, and I work closely with you and your child to develop an individual treatment plan to set your child up for success.
In addition, I provide behavioral parent training to help parents navigate the challenge of the big feelings and behaviors kiddos have in the early years. Parenting is also beautiful and humbling. Parenting is also hard and does not come with a manual or an mobile app to tell us the perfect thing to do! There is so much conflicting advice and it seems that everyone an opinion. As a parent myself, I can truly relate to this challenge. I provide evidence-based parent training that is based on 30+ years of research to help you navigate challenging behaviors and empower you to independently do so moving forward. I primarily work with parents of kids with challenging behaviors between 3-8.
The second area I focus on is providing assessment for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). I have been working with children with ASD for 12 years. I first began working with children with ASD as an in-home applied behavioral analysis (ABA) therapist. This experience changed my life because I saw firsthand the beauty of behavioral principals working! Secondly, I found that loved working with children with ASD and their families who were dedicated, intensity-loving parents with curious, gifted children who experienced the world in a wonderful and unique way. This led me to become a fierce advocate of inclusion and neurodiversity. Before graduate school I worked for four years in a fast-paced research lab at the University of Washington, examining the genetics of ASD. I went on to specialize in ASD in graduate school, where I trained at the Seattle Children’s Autism Center for three years. I provided evidence-based assessment to hundreds of children and teens and therapy specific to the challenges that often come a long with an ASD diagnosis such as anxiety, depression, tics, trichotillomania, and challenging behaviors. I participated in the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) Fellowship which provides multidisciplinary training in the field of developmental disabilities. This Ied me to connect with underserved areas of Washington state providing talks related to understanding ASD and common comorbidities such as anxiety and ASD and research assessment strategies to property diagnose ASD and selective mutism when they co-occur.
I have a passion for providing ASD assessment to children and teens that are a bit “trickier” in terms of struggles, history, and additional diagnosis. Some of examples of individuals that I see include girls, teens, individuals that have struggled socially without understanding why, had overwhelming worry or a long history of anxiety that has been predominate, a or list of many ill-fitting diagnoses. I love working with these kids and teens and I place great value on providing a sound evidence-based assessment including developmental clinical interview, administering the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS-2), and additional neuropsychological assessment to better understand their strengths and challenges. I often collaborate with parents, school to provide appropriate recommendations for home and school. In working with teens, questions of identity often arise in the context of an ASD diagnoses. I value these conversations and strive to support teens wherever they are on this journey. I come from a strengths-based perspective, where I look for individual strengths in each patient and seek to emphasize them in recommendations.
I am part of many organizations including ABCT, INSAR, APA, SMA and a frequent speaker for parents, medical professionals, and teachers, delivering informational talks as well as trainings. I am also active in research, particularly in the area of understanding selective mutism and autism spectrum disorder.
New Client Inquiry:
If you are interested in meeting with Dr. Ward to discuss your concerns and determine whether she would be a good fit for your needs, please complete the form below.