FOLLOW US AT:
Meet Dr. Shipon-Blum
Frequently Asked Questions


Topic Shortcuts:



What is the success rate of S-CAT®?
S-CAT® is an evidenced-based treatment program with research data that proves its success. 

Based on patient data, for ALL children who go through the complete course of recommended treatment including:
  1. Consistent recommended follow-ups;
  2. Parent education;
  3. Education of school personnel about SM and individual child's needs;
  4. Development of school accommodations and interventions (Note: Academic achievement is dependent upon the correct placement and appropriate accommodations);
  5. Child involvement and willingness to receive help.
... more than 95% of such patients have overcome their silence, are verbal communicators and are now significantly more comfortable socially. Most no longer require school accommodations to aid in communication!    Read about what makes S-CAT® different from other treatment approaches to SM. 

For more information on S-CAT® 

Back to Top

Your office is located in the northeast suburbs of Philadelphia, PA. Do you treat children from other locations?

Absolutely! We are proud that we have treated children and their families from almost every continent in the world!

Many out-of-town/state families decide to travel by plane or train for the initial intensive evaluation and treatment at the center with our trained clinicians. We also offer Web- and phone-based consultations for families  and school personnel who are unable to attend an in-person consultation. 

Back to Top

"If we live out of state or quite far from the SMart Center, how are follow-up appointments arranged? We can't possibly be traveling to the office every week!
Since most families are seen every few weeks, you could schedule follow-ups in a variety of different ways. Local families typically come to our center for follow-up appointments. Follow ups can also be done via WebEx or teleconference. We often recommend a 30-60 minute WebEx or teleconference with school personnel as well. 

Back to Top

What is the average age range of the children who receive treatment at the SMart Center?
The age range for children/teens in our practice is 3 years old up to young adults.

Back to Top

How long do most children receive treatment at the SMart Center?
While everyone responds differently, based on more than 15 years of experience the average time frame for treatment is approximately 4-7 visits including the initial evaluation/treatment session. For less impaired cases, treatment has been as short as 2-3 visits. For more impaired cases (especially older patients), treatment can be longer. 

Please note the more consistent parents are in follow-up appointments, the more involved the school is in our efforts, and the more a patient is willing to partake in and work at their treatment, the easier and faster he or she will typically progress.

Back to Top

Please describe the typical treatment course for a child who receives treatment at the SMart Center:
Results from your initial consultation will help our professionals develop a unique treatment plan for your child that is based on S-CAT®.

With our S-CAT Individualized Intensive Program, treatment begins the same day as initial evaluation. Families leave the SMart Center at their first visit with a treatment plan and recommended strategies, techniques, and goals. Most families consult again with their treating clinician approximately 3 weeks after their initial appointment. This gives families time to implement treatment recommendations and for school personnel to begin with recommendations.

During each follow-up visit, your doctor or therapist will work with your child (and YOU) to develop games/goals that will be worked on during the time between treatment sessions based on the parent/school follow-up forms and child session. Parents will be provided with an appointment summary and goals/games for the real world and school.

Back to Top

I am not sure which service to choose. Any advice?
We offer a variety of treatment options. We recommend you speak to our support staff to discuss which format is best for your child, Please contact us at: 215-887-5748 OR email: smartcenter@selectivemutismcenter.org (subj: New Patient Appt). 

Back to Top

What is the process for scheduling an appointment?
Please review information on services. If you would then like to schedule an appointment, contact our office via email:smartcenter@selectivemutismcenter.org or call our front desk at: 215-887-5748.  We will then schedule you to speak to our support staff to determine your specific treatment needs. 

Back to Top

I am very interested in speaking to parents who have gone through treatment at the SMart Center. Is this possible?
Yes, it's very possible and also highly recommended! The Smart Center staff is happy to connect families currently or formerly in treatment with another parent who is "in the same shoes" they were in not too long ago.  

We encourage patients to communicate with other children/teens who have had or are still undergoing treatment. Your therapist or doctor will mention this to you during your consultation. If your child desires a pen pal, we will do our best to find a match for your child!

Please note that we take HIPAA compliance very seriously and all families who agree to communicate with others are aware of privacy rights. 

Back to Top

We have a student who we believe has selective mutism or another social communication challenge. Can we send the child to your center or can you do on-site evaluations?
Fortunately we do both! You can certainly send the family to the center. If the family cannot come in person, we do web and phone consults. A member of our team can also come to your school to do a full evaluation. 

Please note that school on-site evaluations are limited to PA, NJ, NY, DE.

Back to Top

We would like to hire your staff to come to our school to consult about a student. We need help with the development of accommodations and interventions. What is the process?
SMart Center staff will present at the child's school, observe the child and meet with school personnel to discuss findings and suggest school based accommodations, interventions. If requested, our staff can be present for 504 and IEP meetings either at the school or via arranged teleconference (similar to Per Service Consultation).

Back to Top

Our school staff needs help in implementing interventions. Can the SMart Center help?
Absolutely! Our staff can consult with school personnel either via phone, web or on-site. On an as-needed or scheduled consultant basis our staff can present regularly to work directly with the student and school staff! You may also consider on-site trainings for staff such as workshops and webinars!

Back to Top

I am not sure whether my child/student needs an IEP or a 504 plan. How do I know which, if either, is necessary?
If the child has social communication issues that are impacting his/her emotional, social and possibly academic well-being, then your child most definitely needs some form of accommodation. Dr. E or another one of our professional staff can provide an expert opinion after performing an initial consultation. You should ask as many questions as you can during your consultation. If requested, your clinician will provide a written report with recommendations or help develop the 504 or IEP plan.

If our professional staff believes your child should have testing for possible special education services and IEP or 504 accommodations, you will be provided with a letter that you can submit to your school principal or other relevant school personnel. This letter will inform the school of your requests which will then be followed up on according to IDEA.

Most school personnel welcome suggestions on the development of accommodations and school based interventions. We can help in this process by being present at your school meeting either in person or via teleconference.

Back to Top

If my child has qualified for an IEP or 504 plan and we need recommendations for accommodations and school-based interventions, which services do you recommend?
1. We recommend starting with a professional consultation with one of our trained clinicians to determine the best course of action. Note that our therapy and treatment programs are not designed to be 'accommodation plans' but rather complement what is done in accommodations and school-based interventions.

Back to Top

What if my school teacher or another school professional wants to speak to my treatment professional? Can he/she just call during the day?
We ask that you schedule a short phone call with our front desk. Due to our busy schedule, we are not equipped to handle ad hoc questions unless there is a true emergency.

Back to Top

How often are children/teens seen for follow-up visits?
Most of our patients are seen every 3 weeks by our treatment staff. We offer support calls in between follow up consults with our support staff. 

Back to Top

What is included in a S-CAT® Program follow-up consultation?

Follow-up forms are filled out by educators and parents prior to each appointment. When appropriate, a follow-up form for older children/teens is also used. The appointment is approximately one hour to evaluate progress and update goals and games.  

Back to Top

Why is my child not seen weekly or multiple times weekly?
Our clinical experience shows that patients need time in between sessions to work on treatment goals/games both at home and within the school setting. Therefore, most of our patients are seen every three weeks at the SMart Center.

Back to Top

What if I want my child to be seen more frequently or I feel I need more help with the games/goals can this be done?
Of course. When you consult with your clinician, please mention this and we can schedule accordingly.  

Back to Top

What if I feel I need an appointment outside of my regular scheduled appointment? I.e., some issues have come up or I have additional questions. How is this handled?
We offer our patients the flexibility of what we call a 'convenience consultation.' These are appointments that are scheduled no more than two weeks in advance and are on a first come, first served basis. These appointments are prior to our regularly scheduled appointments and typically range from 15-30 min. If more time is needed, we can extend assuming time is available. These appointments are usually a teleconference consultation, but in-person consultations are available for those who so request.

If interested in a convenience consultation, Please call our Direct Patient Line (supplied to all our patients and located in the Established Patient Section of our website) or email us at:smartcenter@selectivemutismcenter.org.
We will then schedule you accordingly.

Back to Top

Where can I locate the Follow-Up forms that need to be filled out and how do I submit them?
Right here! 
You will also be supplied the link to the follow up forms when our office sends you an email confirmation. This is approximately 3-7 days prior to your appt.

Back to Top

How do I schedule my S-CAT® follow-up appointments?
Please email our scheduling department at:SMartCenter@selectivemutismcenter.org or call our Direct Patient Line (Provided to all our established patients and located in the Established Patient section of our website). You can reach our Front Desk Call Center at 215-887-5748.

Back to Top

What is the office policy for appointment canceling?
Our office staff sends out reminders via email and phone so families are able to confirm their appointment.  If we receive less than 24 hours notice that a consult time needs to be rescheduled, then the consult payment is still due as previously scheduled.  No show appointments, unless due to a documented emergency, are not acceptable and payment is required.

Back to Top

What percentage of patients at the SMart Center are placed on medication?

Based on our present patient population, for approximately 30% of patients, medication is recommended as an adjunct. However, please keep in mind the following:
  1. Since we specialize in treating children/teens with selective mutism and social communication issues, we see patients of varying degrees of severity. Many families who come to the Smart Center have been to multiple treatment professionals, have made minimal if any progress, and have exhausted other treatment options.
  2. Older patients tend to have more severe and co-morbid problems that may require medication.
  3. Younger patients tend to have fewer co-morbid problems requiring medication.

** For those with many questions on medication, we suggest the  CD-ROM/Audio CD's presented by Dr. E., Medication: Why, When and HOW to use Safely and Effectively in the Treatment of Selective Mutism.

Back to Top

If my child needs medication, can our child receive medication and monitoring at the SMart Center?

Absolutely! 

Back to Top

What if we are against medication, but your center recommends medication? Will my loved one not be treated at the SMart Center?
We respect your decision whether to use or not to use medication as an adjunct to treatment. However, many parents are uninformed about 'medication' and form opinions without completely understanding. If we recommend medication and a parent is against medication, we will simply ask the parent to read about the medication and consider the potential benefits. If after research the parent is still against the use of medication, treatment will continue without medication being used.

Back to Top

What types of medication are used at the SMart Center?
If medication is recommended, 99% of patients are placed on a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) (i.e., Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa, etc) or a medication very closely related to an SSRI (I.e., Effexor)

Back to Top

Why is medication recommended?
Medication is used as an adjunct to help lower anxiety just enough to do the behavior therapy necessary to build coping skills. For some children/teens, anxiety is so high that a short course of medication enables for the lowered anxiety needed to accomplish therapy.

Back to Top

How long does a child remain on medication?
The goal is 6-12 months depending upon clinical response.

Back to Top


LOGIN   SEARCH:   GO
505 N. Old York Road   Jenkintown Square, Lower Level   Jenkintown, PA 19046
(215) 887-5748   smartcenter@selectivemutismcenter.org
Site developed by: Peapod Design/P.O.D.S