Short version: I currently have an intern with rather severe anxiety issues. this makes her nearly unable to speak to me or coworkers. Is there something I can do to help her mitigate this? (it's all about oral communication seeing chatting is not an issue).
Long version: I work for an organization that helps (IT) students prepare for real jobs by having them team up for real projects for real companies in a controlled environment where I can guide them and there is always a teacher on call to help them. (3 half days a week, the rest of the time they attend classes at their college)
One of the students has a form of anxiety which leaves her nearly unable to speak, when she speaks she whispers and mostly it's either yes or no. And although she has started speaking in full sentences to me, it took about half a year to get her this far and it's still only me. (Students follow this procedure the last half of their second year and the first half of their third year).
Is there a way I can help her with her oral communication skills on the work floor? In a while she will have to do a real internship and go job hunting, but I fear her anxiety will get in the way, which is a real shame seeing as she is one of the brightest students I have working there.
(If the question doesn't fit here I would love to hear where it would belong.)
She already has professional help from the school she is with. And I have no illusions that I am able to fix the problem. I just want to know if there is anything I could do to help her out dealing with a professional situation :)
Update: Although thanks for all the answers, I kinda ignored them. I took 30 to 60 min a day to simply talk to her one-on-one as practice and give her exercises (some I found online, some I made myself) to do (some with other students there). Apparently, it had good effect on her where she made a lot of improvements with her social skills.
Due to positive feedback from the schools/students the organization even expanded my role, where I taught regular courses and one of the schools (the one where this girl is from), on advice of their guidance counsellor, actually even requested I take on other special cases (teens/ young adults with depression, self-esteem and other social issues).
At the graduations I had several parents and grandparents (some even with tears) coming over to thank me personally for helping their child/grandchild out, so I have no regrets ignoring the advice that was given here.
But I have to say that it took a lot of personal time to help them out, I quit teaching over half a year ago now partially due to it (The fact that as a software engineer I earn much more for less pressure is also a major factor). Even now five of them still maintain contact with me because I can't bring myself to turn them away when they need somebody to talk to.
So my advice for people facing a similar issue: Help them to the best of your abilities, but be warned it takes its toll when it comes to your free time (because your employer won't give you (much) time for it) and it can be quite devastating to help them with such struggles if you aren't trained for it.