Let’s Cross the Bridge to Communication at CommuniCamp!
WHAT: CommuniCamp is a 3-day intensive group treatment program to help your child with Selective Mutism, social anxiety, and extreme shyness, build the social communication skills necessary for school, the real world, and at home. Using the evidence-based Social Communication Anxiety Treatment® (S-CAT®) created by world-renowned Selective Mutism expert, Dr. Elisa Shipon-Blum, we will help your child cross the bridge to social communication!
Professionally trained counselors, under the direction of our lead clinicians, will work directly with your child to incorporate social comfort to facilitate learning of social communication strategies that parents and children can use in everyday life. Parents are a part of this process too! That is why parent training sessions (~2 1/2 hours per day) with our licensed treatment professionals will be held each morning and afternoon so that parents can begin implementation right when you get home!
“Amazing! Very compassionate and understanding. My child felt safe and loved camp! She felt understood, as did the parents.”
“This weekend was worth every penny – it surpassed my expectations.”
“Other therapies have no real world applications – CommuniCamp has mostly real world applications – and it works. My child had never done a camp like this before and it was extremely beneficial – practically and emotionally.”
“Great info – I feel this was the missing link that we needed, as a family, to continue on our journey.”
“I was surprised with the number of professionals and educated counselors – it was wonderful. I felt that the SMart Center did a fantastic job giving the kids the help they need in a really fun way!”
“She loved spending time with the kids she met; at the park, restaurant and pools. Thank you for encouragement and helping us get together with other families!”
“THANK YOU for giving us this opportunity – we are excited to learn that our child is making sounds in a group!”
“My child was very proud of herself. She gained a lot of confidence here.”
“They have a very educated staff, who all have an actual understanding of the issues AT HAND.”
“My child came away from camp so happy and excited to come back – she doesn’t want to go home yet!”
“SM is not understood for the most part in our society – so, the knowledge that we gained was very needed, and much appreciated!”
“Thank you for your passion and making your purpose to help our children be all that they can be in their lifetime! The support is amazing.”
“The counselors demonstrated ability to accommodate the unique needs of my child – and the ability to bond and promote opportunities.”
“It was great to have a good review of the techniques we’ve used over the years and how we can go back to those old techniques to reach the next level.”
“Amazing to see my child interacting with other children at the park, talking and totally comfortable. She loves CommuniCamp!”
“The counselors were very accessible and available for questions and individual concerns.”
“My daughter asked daily if we can come to camp every day!”
“I’m very happy with how camp went – I had wanted my child to meet other kids like her, and get a nice confidence boost!”
“Provided guidance that I could not find locally – gave me a starting point to navigate.”
“Thank you for your positive attitudes and knowledge on the topic!”
“This experience has been really eye opening and we learned so much.”
“Now I have new ideas to take back to the teachers.”
“Staff to camper ratio was very good – also had very positive attitudes.”
“It was great to help us begin understanding S-CAT – this is new to us and we want to ensure we are not prohibiting or blocking her progress because of misunderstanding of what she needs.”
“I ditched all of my plans to tour Philadelphia, and got to see a really happy child with her new friends at the afternoon playdates– which was MUCH more awesome than touring Philadelphia!”
WHEN: Due to the nature of this group program, CommuniCamp will occur on designated weekends throughout the year.
Dates for 2017:
April 28-30 (See images and testimonials from our April session here!)
** 100% of parents rated the April 2017 CommuniCamp as “Excellent” and 100% of the parents highly recommend CommuniCamp to others!**
August 11-13 (ALMOST FULL: click here to register now!)
Abington Friends School
575 Washington Lane
Jenkintown PA, 19046
WHO: Children ages 4-11 with Selective Mutism, social anxiety, and/or extreme shyness. We welcome applicants from around the world!
*Note: we hope to open this program to children/teens of a wider age-range in the future.
HOW: If you are interested in participating in the CommuniCamp intensive group treatment program, please fill out our online application so that we may determine if this program is right for you and your child.
Step 1: Complete the online application, so that we can determine compatibility with our program.
Click here for the CommuniCamp application.
*Established SMart Center patients: You are eligible to submit the application for FREE.
Use the Coupon Code: SMartPatient
*Because this program emphasizes intensive, individualized treatment in small groups, the camp has a limited capacity and spots are filled on a first-come-first-served basis. Therefore, applicants may be placed on a waitlist if all spots are filled at the time of application submission. As openings become available, applicants will be notified and the application fee will be requested. At this point, the following steps will occur as usual.
Step 2: Once we receive your application and payment, it will be reviewed by clinicians at the SMart Center to determine your child’s eligibility for the program. You will be notified of your status within 1 week of receiving your completed application.
Step 3: After being accepted into the CommuniCamp program, you will have a 90 minute intake interview with a lead clinician at the SMart Center. This is to determine your child’s specific needs and ideal group placement. In addition, the intake will allow our clinicians to plan for the proper treatment strategies to utilize during CommuniCamp.
*If your child has ever participated in any S-CAT programs/treatment services at the SMart Center in the past, the intake interview may not be necessary. After your application is reviewed by our team, we will notify you if an intake must be scheduled.
Step 4: The CommuniComfort Experience!
After your intake is completed and your acceptance is confirmed (via $250 deposit), we will create your child’s unique CommuniComfort Experience.
CommuniComfort is the approach we use at the SMart Center, modeled after concepts within the S-CAT® Program, to help children build social and communication comfort in a given setting or with an individual. In this case, it is to establish comfort with the SMart Center and your child’s head counselor. Before, during, and after camp, purposeful strategies are used to help ease anxiety, which will foster social comfort and hence, communication.
Step 5: Attend CommuniCamp!
We recommend arriving to the Philadelphia area at least the afternoon before the first day of the program (Thursday). We will have a welcome pizza party on Thursday evening prior to camp where children/parents will meet their counselors, fellow campers, and tour the facility. *Times of the pizza party will vary depending on the group your child is assigned to. Then, CommuniCamp starts at 9 AM sharp on Friday morning!
During CommuniCamp, after camper drop off, parents will meet from 9-10:30 each morning and at 1-2:00 pm each afternoon with Dr. Elisa Shipon-Blum and Jennifer Brittingham, M.A. for educational sessions. This will include, but isn’t limited to, hands-on training of step-by-step treatment strategies with provided goal charts, opportunities to ask questions, as well as time to connect with other parents.
Children will have a detailed schedule each day (9-2 pm) that consists of fun games and activities to foster social comfort, confidence, and progression of communication. The children will be working directly with their counselors and/or lead clinicians in their small groups or paired with buddies, as well as participate in pull-out sessions with our lead clinicians.
Families will have the opportunity to connect each day after camp. This will be in the form of planned times to meet at a local park, hotel pools, meals, etc.
At the conclusion of CommuniCamp, campers will have a celebration ice cream party as well as a “Crossing the Bridge” Ceremony (with parents present) where they will be provided award certificates.
Step 6: After CommuniCamp:
Parents will fill out a survey about their CommuniCamp experience.
Parents will be provided:
1. A brief report that summarizes the child’s progress and strategies that worked best for the child.
2. Relevant handouts to supplement their CommuniCamp experience for take home and to be shared with the school.
3. A check-in call with the camper’s lead counselor within 1 week.
4. A support call with our lead counselor, Jennifer Brittingham M.A. within 2 weeks.
5. The names/contact information of fellow families (if families choose to opt-in) who attended CommuniCamp and the opportunity for an online support group that includes other CommuniCamp families.
Once a family attends CommuniCamp, they are considered part of the SMart Center “family” and are officially established SMart Center patients. They are therefore eligible to participate in individual treatment, receive school-based services, etc. Such services, including psychoeducational, neurodevelopmental, and speech and language testing services will be explained in greater detail during the CommuniCamp weekend.
*Families are also eligible to attend a future CommuniCamp with waived application and intake fees.
*Waived for established SMart Center patients.
Intake Interview: $300
*Waived for established SMart Center patients that have been seen within 1 year of application or pending clinician’s approval.
CommuniCamp Program: $1750
Frequently Asked Questions
The detailed Intake evaluation performed by our licensed clinicians will determine eligibility once an application is accepted. Typically, if a child meets the diagnostic criteria for Selective Mutism or social anxiety disorder, etc., is toilet trained, understands English, can separate from a parent/caregiver and does not have developmental delays that will affect participation, he/she will most likely be accepted into the camp. In addition to determining eligibility, the intake evaluation will confirm diagnosis, determine the child’s individual needs, as well as group placement in the camp.
Please note: For families who are already patients at the SMart Center, an intake evaluation is not needed.
Contact us with questions.
Absolutely no. Children with SM have a social communication anxiety disorder where their level of communication will change from setting to setting. Dr. Elisa Shipon-Blum’s S-CAT® approach focuses on the Stages of Social Communication. Stages vary from noncommunicative, nonverbal, transitional and verbal. AS a long as a child can interact, at least nonverbally after warm up time and are approved via our intake process, your child can participate. Your child’s level of communication will dictate group placement and strategies used.
For new families to the SMart Center, fees include:
Application fee ($75) which is reviewed by our clinical staff to determine eligibility.
Intake evaluation ($300) which is a 90 min evaluation by one of our licensed clinicians. The detailed Intake evaluation performed by our licensed clinicians will determine eligibility once an application is accepted. Typically, if a child meets the diagnostic criteria for Selective Mutism or social anxiety disorder, etc., is toilet trained, understands English, can separate from a parent/caregiver and does not have developmental delays that will affect participation, he/she will most likely be accepted into the camp. In addition to determining eligibility, the intake evaluation will confirm diagnosis, determine the child’s individual needs, as well as group placement in the camp.
CommuniCamp: $1750 Begins the evening prior to camp for a Welcome Pizza Party.
3 days or 15 hours of CommuniCamp where children will be paired with a counselor and work directly with our licensed clinicians to learn valuable skills to foster comfort, progression of communication with a few peers and within a small group setting. Children will be paired/grouped with children who are similar in their social communication skills. They will have be amongst others who understand. they will feel safe, have fun, play games, do art and movement activities, make new friends while learning valuable skills to cross the Social Communication Bridge! At the end of CommuniCamp, children will celebrate their successful completion of CommuniCamp by having a ‘make your own sundae’ ice cream party. They will feel proud as they receive their ‘Crossing the Bridge’ certificate from their lead clinician. Also, parents receive charted goals each day and information to take-home. Parents will receive two support calls within a month after camp. One call from their lead counselor and one from a SMart Center lead clinician. The purpose of these calls are to check in to determine how goals are going and to add much-needed support.
**Please note that families will have the opportunity to meet up after camp at local parks, restaurants and play areas. This opportunity is wonderful for both children and parents! As parents shared at our most recent camp, “Seeing my child run, play and talk to her new friends was something that i will never forget!” And ‘I loved the connections I made with parents. It felt wonderful to share experiences with others who understand.”
YES! Since parents are critical in the treatment process, we pride ourselves on the level of education and support we provide parents during CommuniCamp! 1/2 the day is spent with parents. 9-1030 am and 1-2 pm each day. Each AM, parents will have the opportunity to ask questions, learn valuable information about Selective Mutism and understand the key philosophies to a successful treatment outcome. Every afternoon, parents will be taught step by step goals that are recommended for success when ‘away’ from camp. Another key aspect to CommuniCamp is the amount of support parents receive at camp. We discuss relevant topics, parents share their stories and everyone learns from one another. In addition, each day after camp, parents are provided locations where other families will meet and ‘bond’ with eachother while children do the same. Parents from our April 2017 camp shared the following: “I was eager for my child to meet other children like him, but i never realized I too would benefit so much from meeting other parents. What a surprising benefit of CommuniCamp!” and “This was truly the missing link that we were searching for. Thank you so much for this incredible experience.”
If you are already working with one of our professionals at the SMart Center, then you just have to register for the camp.
Both the application and the intake evaluation are not needed. Therefore, Fees are waived for both the application and intake because your child has already been evaluated at our center and we are aware of his/her needs!
Therefore, as an established SMart Center patient, your only steps for signing up for CommuniCamp are:
1. Fill out the online application, indicating that you are an
established patient at the end of the form by using the
coupon code: SMartPatient when prompted.
2. Wait for your email confirmation. A clinician at the SMart Center will need to review your application to confirm that your child has
been accepted into the program.
3. Once approved and fees are paid, attend the program!
Note: Fee for CommuniCamp: $1750.
As a specialty medical practice, the SMart Center does not accept medical insurance plans. Our professional services are considered out of network with all insurance providers.
We are happy to provide receipts to families for submitting to their insurance companies for possible reimbursement. We suggest you contact your insurance carrier and inquire about your out of network coverage, any deductibles that must be met, whether you need a letter of medical necessity from your child’s pediatrician, or any limitations on coverage.
We will provide a detailed receipt with insurance codes if requested.
Yes. We welcome families from all over the world to take part in our S-CAT® programs. There are many affordable options, including ‘low cost’ housing for accommodations near our center in Jenkintown, PA. [Places to stay near the SMart Center]
Our CommuniCamp program is specifically designed to provide families with the time to practice evidence-based S-CAT® strategies out in the real world. Families are encouraged to explore the great city of Philadelphia, as they journey across the Bridge to social communication! [Things to do in Philadelphia]
We understand that comfort precedes communication. CommuniComfort is the approach we use at the SMart Center and modeled after concepts within the S-CAT® Program to help children build social and communication comfort in a given setting or with an individual. This process begins weeks prior to the start of camp to help the child feel comfortable with their lead counselor. Then, prior to camp and during camp, purposeful strategies are used to help ease anxiety which will foster comfort and communication amongst campers and counselors
The popular S-CAT® Program was developed by Dr. Elisa Shipon-Blum and is an individualized and intensive program (average visits 3-7) for children/teens who suffer from Selective Mutism, Social Anxiety and extreme shyness. The S-CAT® Program is based on understanding SM as a Social Communication Anxiety disorder. The S-CAT® Program has been researched and published in a peer-reviewed article of a pilot study demonstrating its effectiveness was published in 2016.
At CommuniCamp, the evidence-based S-CAT® philosophies will be used in an intensive, camp-like setting, where children will have the ability to interact in small groups with their fellow CommuniCamp participants. Working with both highly-trained, graduate-level counselors led by our licensed clinicians, participants at CommuniCamp will experience a truly unique opportunity for treatment. Over the course of just 3 days (5 hours of camp per day for a total of 15 hours of treatment), CommuniCamp will incorporate S-CAT® strategies into fun, camp-like games and therapeutic activities that will help each patient develop social confidence and move across the Social Communication Bridge® during the program. Children will have fun and make new friends, while at the same time, work on strategies needed for success within the real world and at school. CommuniCamp will provide children (and their parents) with the tools to utilize these strategies once they leave the program as well!
CommuniCamp has limited space available, as the program emphasizes small group treatment. Payment of your deposit reserves your child’s space in the program. As a result, the SMart Center requires that deposits are paid at least 30 days prior to the start date of the program. Cancellations prior to 30 days before the start of program will receive a full refund. Cancellations with less than 30 days notice will not receive a refund.
Please call our CommuniCamp team at 215-887-5748 with further enquiries and questions.