CommuniCamp™ Intensive Group Treatment & Parent Training Program

NEXT 4-day in-person CommuniCamp:  FEB 12-15th 2021 (application)

(** Learn about our virtual ONE day child Virtual CommuniCamp (Oct 10th) and One day Tween/Teen Virtual CommuniCamp  (Oct 24th))

Our 4-Day onsite CommuniCamp™ is an Intensive Group Treatment and Parent Training Program held in the Greater Philadelphia Area to help children and teens ages 3-17 (at every level of communication e.g. shut-down and non-communicative, nonverbal, somewhat communicative, etc.) with Selective Mutism, social anxiety, and extreme shyness speak in school and other social settings. Based on 20+ years of experience treating Selective Mutism using Social Communication Anxiety Treatment® (S-CAT®), the evidence-based treatment approach created by world-renowned Selective Mutism expert, Dr. Elisa Shipon-Blum, we will help your child, tween, or teen build the social communication skills necessary for school, the real world, and at home. The CommuniCamp™ Mission is two-fold: 1) treatment in small, peer-groups in a school for children and teens and 2) parent education, training, and support seminars.

1. Intensive Group Treatment:

Over the course of a four-day weekend (almost 20 hours total) with a Welcome & Orientation Get Together the night before, our professionally trained counselors–under the direction of our lead clinicians–work directly with campers to instill social confidence, increase communication, and facilitate learning of coping skills. Within each peer group, camper to counselor ratio is approximately 2:1. Not only are our counselors trained in S-CAT® but also in their campers’ individual needs. (Learn more about this process here.) We carefully craft S-CAT® based games, activities, exercises, and strategies to use for each camper’s age (more information on our teen program here) and individual baseline Stage® for social communication. Through these strategies, by removing the expectation for speech, and respecting each camper’s unique needs, our campers see and hear themselves communicating confidently in a group school setting which translates to their daily lives when they get home. 

2. Parent Training, Education, and Support Seminars:

Throughout the day, we simultaneously provide intensive parent education, training, and support sessions so parents can immerse themselves in the world of Selective Mutism and learn strategies, ask questions, share stories, receive support, and feel confident implementing the goals, strategies, and interventions the entire family learned at camp, at home. Since parents are so critical to the treatment process (after all, you are the one right there with your child/teen in day-to-day social situations), we provide education and concrete goals to treatment. Families will work on their goals that are personalized to your child’s needs, each afternoon/evening of CommuniCamp™. These goals are then meant to be continuously worked on after CommuniCamp™ is over.  Charted games and goals are provided to both parents and children/teens as tools and strategies to help make progress across the Social Communication Bridge® into comfort, confidence, and verbal communication.

100% of parents rated CommuniCamp™ as “excellent” and 100% of the parents highly recommend it to others! Click here to for reviews and testimonials.


WHO CAN APPLY? New and established patients! Children and teens ages 3-17-years-old with Selective Mutism, Social Anxiety, and/or Extreme Shyness (and their families!)

WHERE IS IT?   We rent a local school in the Greater Philadelphia Area near Jenkintown, PA for exposure-based learning in an environment that can often be challenging for children/teens Selective Mutism (Click here for local, low-cost housing recommendations)

HOW DOES IT WORK? The process for new families to join CommuniCamp™ is simple as 1-2-3! See below…

CommuniCamp™ Process

The steps to enrollment in CommuniCamp™ are as easy as 1, 2, 3! Click on the tabs below to review the three simple steps. Our 3 step enrollment process is just one of the many reasons that make CommuniCamp™ so cost-effective and efficient. We accept new families with children in every communication stage directly into group treatment—completely mute and shut-down, nonverbal, somewhat communicative, etc.—through this simple process. Most other programs require your son or daughter to talk to at least one counselor and one peer and to be involved in “lead-in” sessions until the child is “verbal enough” for the treatment. We are able to accept new patients at any stage on the Social Communication Bridge® meaning a child could be nonverbal and still participate in CommuniCamp™ (and are encouraged to do so!). No matter a child’s baseline stage for social communication, e.g. shut-down and non-communicative, nonverbal, somewhat communicative, etc, your child can be eligible for group treatment. We do not require lead-in sessions for a child to become verbal for CommuniCamp™.Lead-ins/fade-ins are not associated with the SMart Center per our evidence-based treatment approach.


This is one of many unique aspects of CommuniCamp™. This is how we are able to accept new patients directly into group treatment!

Complete the application for the program you wish to attend (Applications are listed on this webpage) so that Dr. Elisa Shipon-Blum can perform a detailed review and assessment of the application to determine if applicant is eligible for group treatment prior to being involved in our Individualized Intensive Treatment Program.  The application also allows to start to uncover the child’s/teen’s unique needs so that we can utilize the appropriate S-CAT® strategies with respect to his/her baseline. Our globally successful, evidence-based treatment approach, Social Communication Anxiety Treatment® (SCAT®), is grounded in the understanding that Selective Mutism is more than just not speaking in social settings. A major component of S-CAT® is understanding that every child/teen is different and therefore an individualized treatment plan needs to be developed that incorporates home (parent education, environmental changes), the child’s/teen’s unique needs, and school modifications (teacher education, accommodations/interventions). Your loved one with Selective Mutism and Social Anxiety developed SM and remains “stuck” from one or more contributing factors.  See our FAQs to learn more about this process.

After a clinical assessment of your application, you will be notified of your status within 2-3 business days. Since established SMart Center patients have already completed the initial interviews and assessments, they are eligible to submit the application at no cost by using the coupon code: SMartPatient 

*There is a $75 application fee. Your loved one does not need to have an official diagnosis to attend. Because this program emphasizes intensive, individualized treatment in small groups, the program has a limited capacity and spots are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Therefore, applicants may be placed on a wait-list 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.


CommuniCamp™ uses the S-CAT® model in a peer-group setting. After your application is thoroughly reviewed, you will be eligible for one of three meeting options (in-person or virtual dependent on clinical recommendation based on application) with one of our clinicians to deepen our understanding of your child’s unique social communication needs so that we can determine ideal group placement and identify and plan for the proper treatment strategies to utilize during CommuniCamp™. This will help foster a comfortable, fun, and therapeutic weekend. There is a minimum fee of $300 for this step; however, based on clinical recommendation after review of your application, Dr. Shipon-Blum might recommend individualized treatment prior to attending the program. More detailed information and pricing will be sent upon application acceptance.

After your meeting is completed and your CommuniCamp™ acceptance is confirmed, we will create your child’s unique experience. CommuniComfort is the approach we use at the SMart Center, modeled after concepts within Dr. Shipon-Blum’s S-CAT® Program, to help campers build social and communication comfort in a given setting or with an individual. Before, during, and after camp, purposeful, specific strategies are used to help ease each child’s specific anxieties, which will foster social comfort in a school-like setting and hence, communication.

*This step is waived for SMart Center families who’ve been seen within 6 months to 1 year. Upon acceptance of application, the meeting may or may not be necessary pending clinician determination.  

Attend CommuniCamp™!

Aspects of the Meeting and our CommuniComfort process unite with a Welcome & Orientation Get-Together the night prior to camp where campers and parents will meet their counselors, fellow campers, and tour the facility. Therapeutic, S-CAT® strategies are incorporated into this pre-camp event so we recommend arriving to the Philadelphia area the afternoon before the first day of the program.

During CommuniCamp™ (after camper drop off), parents will meet each day with Dr. Elisa Shipon-Blum and our clinical staff for educational and support sessions. Parents will receive hands-on training and learn proven treatment strategies with goal charts, opportunities to ask questions, as well as time to connect with other parents. Campers will have a detailed schedule each day (9AM – 2PM) that consists of fun games and activities to foster social comfort, confidence, and progression of communication in a school-like setting. Campers work directly with their counselors and clinicians in their small groups or paired with buddies, as well as participate in pull-out sessions with our clinicians.


After the event, parents will receive:

  1. Recommendations for next steps
  2. Relevant handouts to supplement their CommuniCamp™ experience to take home and share with the school
  3. Charted goals
  4. A check-in call with the camper’s counselor
  5. Eligibility for individualized, monthly follow-up (we consult with out-of-state families via web-conferencing)

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. Services include psychoeducational, neurodevelopmental, and speech and language testing. Learn more about our services by clicking hereFamilies are also eligible to attend a future CommuniCamp™ with no application fee and no meeting step/fee.

Step 1, Application: $75.00 (non-refundable)
*The application fee is waived for established patients as they’ve already been reviewed and assessed with the SMart Center.

Step 2, Meeting: Varies dependent on meeting type and clinician, $300.00 at minimum; however, individualized treatment might be recommended at this step with fees varying in range based (A non-refundable scheduling deposit will be due at time of scheduling).
**The meeting is waived for SMart Center families who’ve been seen within 6 months to one year. This step may or may not be necessary pending clinician determination for established patients.  

CommuniCamp™ Program, $1,950.00 ($600.00 non-refundable deposit to secure enrollment and $1,350.00 due 30 days before camp)

  • SMart Center Financial Assistance Program – Click here to learn more and apply for possible sliding fee scale.

CommuniCamp™ for Teens

Oftentimes it can be hard for older children and teenagers with Selective Mutism and social anxiety to agree to participate in a group treatment program like CommuniCamp™. This is a very common barrier to treatment so rest assured you and your child are not alone!

CommuniCamp™ for Teens delivers the motivation for success and will address all aspects of life including (but not limited to):

  • Starting and joining conversations
  • Making friends
  • Participating in class
  • Job interview skills
  • Text/email/social media
  • Asking others for help
  • Standing up for themselves
  • Talking to strangers (like servers) without anxiety
  • Initiating conversations with strangers
  • Building self-confidence
  • Understanding themselves

As a result, our teenage participants gain the tools and language to reflect on their social communication difficulties and identify specific and meaningful goals that they would like to achieve.

TO learn about our ONE day Tween/Teen Virtual CommuniCamp

“Amazing! Very compassionate and understanding. My child felt safe and loved camp! She felt understood, as did the parents.”

CommuniCamper Parent

This weekend was worth every penny – it surpassed my expectations.” 

CommuniCamper Parent

“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.”

CommuniCamper Parent

“Great info – I feel this was the missing link that we needed, as a family, to continue on our journey.”

CommuniCamper Parent

“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!

CommuniCamper Parent

“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!

CommuniCamper Parent

THANK YOU for giving us this opportunity – we are excited to learn that our child is making sounds in a group!”

CommuniCamper Parent, See more CommuniCamp testimonials

My child was very proud of herself. She gained a lot of confidence here.”

CommuniCamper Parent

“They have a very educated staff, who all have an actual understanding of the issues AT HAND.”

CommuniCamper Parent, See more CommuniCamp testimonials

My child came away from camp so happy and excited to come back – she doesn’t want to go home yet!”

CommuniCamper Parent

“SM is not understood for the most part in our society – so, the knowledge that we gained was very needed, and much appreciated!”

CommuniCamper Parent

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.”

CommuniCamper Parent

“The counselors demonstrated ability to accommodate the unique needs of my child – and the ability to bond and promote opportunities.”

CommuniCamper Parent

“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.”

CommuniCamper Parent

“Amazing to see my child interacting with other children at the park, talking and totally comfortable. She loves CommuniCamp!”

CommuniCamper Parent

“The counselors were very accessible and available for questions and individual concerns.”

CommuniCamper Parent

“My daughter asked daily if we can come to camp every day!”

CommuniCamper Parent

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!”

CommuniCamper Parent

“Provided guidance that I could not find locally – gave me a starting point to navigate.”

CommuniCamper Parent

Thank you for your positive attitudes and knowledge on the topic!”

CommuniCamper Parent

“This experience has been really eye opening and we learned so much.”

CommuniCamper Parent

“Now I have new ideas to take back to the teachers.”

CommuniCamper Parent

“Staff to camper ratio was very good – also had very positive attitudes.”

CommuniCamper Parent

“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.”

CommuniCamper Parent

“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!”

CommuniCamper Parent

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do you determine if my child is eligible to attend CommuniCamp™? After you complete Step 1: Apply, your application is reviewed by Dr. Elisa Shipon-Blum. You will receive an email regarding the status of your application in about 2-3 business days. If approved, you will be eligible for 2-3 “Pre-Camp Meetings” to evaluate your child’s individual needs. Typically, if a child/teen meets the diagnostic criteria for Selective Mutism or social anxiety disorder, etc., is toilet trained, understands English, and does not have developmental delays that will affect participation, he/she will most likely be accepted. Please note: For established SMart Center families who have been seen within six months to one year, the Pre-Camp Meeting may or may not be necessary. Learn more about the eligibility process here.
  • Does my child have to speak to at least one person to be able to participate in CommuniCamp™? Absolutely not.  Children/teens 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 non-communicative, nonverbal, transitional and verbal. As a long as a child can interact, at least nonverbally after warm up time and are approved via our CommuniCamp™ enrollment process, your child can participate. Your child’s level of communication will dictate group placement and strategies used.
  • Does my child need to be diagnosed with Selective Mutism in order to attend? No, your child does not need a diagnosis or referral to be able to attend CommuniCamp™. We can provide an evaluation as part of the process.
  • What if my child and I are already established members of the SMart Center Family? As an active/established SMart Center patient, your only steps for signing up for CommuniCamp™ are complete the application of the event you wish to attend and indicate you are an established patient at the end of the form by using the coupon code SMartPatient when prompted and wait for your email confirmation!
  • Do you have recommendations for housing/hotels near CommuniCamp™? Yes. Families travel from across the globe to take part in our S-CAT® programs. Click here to view many affordable options, including free and low-cost housing for accommodations near CommuniCamp™.
  • Do you provide childcare for siblings? We do not provide childcare for siblings at CommuniCamp; however, the program is attended by many young families so we absolutely welcome siblings into the parent sessions to sit alongside Mom and/or Dad! It is up to the parents to occupy the sibling e.g. iPad/tablet with headphones, books, coloring pages, etc. Sometimes, if a family has a very young child, grandma or grandpa (or aunt or uncle) will attend CommuniCamp with that family to be the person who walks the fussy child into the hallway so that Mom/Dad don’t miss any of the lectures. There is no extra charge for an additional family member who is joining to help with childcare.
    • Older siblings are encouraged to actively listen/participate to learn how to help their sibling with SM. There are outlets available to charge phones/tablets.
    • Younger siblings might become bored or fussy and could become a distraction to the other parents. In that case, we just ask that mom or dad simply walk them out into the lobby.
  • Other Group Treatment Programs for Selective Mutism require patients to be verbal with at least one counselor and one camper. Is that true of CommuniCamp? Absolutely not! The SMart Center DOES NOT require “lead-in” sessions to participate in CommuniCamp™! The steps to CommuniCamp™ are as easy as 1-2-3: Apply-Meet-Attend! Because our treatment philosophy, Social Communication Anxiety Treatment® (S-CAT®) is grounded in the understanding of Selective Mutism as a social communication anxiety disorder where child/teens are not just mute, our group treatment is accepting all child and teens at every stage of social communication (per Dr. Elisa Shipon-Blum‘s Social Communication Bridge®): barely engaging, nonverbal, somewhat communicative, whispering, etc. Our evaluation and treatment process begins before you even arrive at CommuniCamp™ to help your child build the comfort necessary to feel safe and secure!
  • Does my child have to speak to at least one person to be able to participate in CommuniCamp™? Absolutely not.  Children/teens 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 non-communicative, nonverbal, transitional and verbal. As a long as a child can interact, at least nonverbally after warm up time and are approved via our CommuniCamp™ enrollment process, your child can participate. Your child’s level of communication will dictate group placement and strategies used.
  • Are parent education sessions included? YES! THREE FULL DAYS! (5 hours/day) Parent implementation is critical in the S-CAT® treatment process. We pride ourselves on the level of education and support we provide parents during CommuniCamp™. Parents will have the opportunity to ask questions, learn valuable information about Selective Mutism and understand the key philosophies to a successful treatment outcome.  Parents will be taught step-by-step goals that are recommended for success after they leave CommuniCamp™ to implement in their daily lives when they get home. We discuss relevant topics, previous SMart Center patients share their stories, and everyone learns from one another. In addition, each day after the program, families have the opportunity to meet up to ‘bond’ with each other and practice goals together. Parents from previous CommuniCamp™ programs 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.”
  • Do you have references you can share? I’d like to speak to a family who has already attended the program. Yes! The majority of CommuniCamp™ families offered to speak about their experience with potential campers. Please send an email to and we’ll be happy to share names and emails of families who’ve attended our program. You can also click here for reviews, video testimonials, and success stories.
  • My child can’t go to the restroom without assistance. Please advise. Counselors can lead the child to the restroom (we will have scheduled bathroom breaks and communication boards present in the campers assigned room); however, counselors are not able to physically assist at the toilet. Therefore, a counselor will contact you to assist your child.
  • Can parents be present in the building in between parent training sessions? Parent education, training, and support sessions occur all day, every day. The entire time your child is working on building comfort, confidence, and communication—so are you! Parent receive a lunch break, and you are encouraged to stay on campus during that time. We offer an optional Parent Networking Luncheon so you connect with families who are experiencing this journey with you!
  • “What is your insurance policy?” 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. It is the family’s responsibility to work with their insurance provider to see if CommuniCamp is eligible for possible reimbursement based on your specific plan. Email for CPT codes.
  • “What is your cancellation policy?” CommuniCamp has limited space available, as the program emphasizes small group treatment. Payment of your non-refundable deposit reserves your child’s space in the program. As a result, the SMart Center requires the full program payment is paid at least 30 days prior to the start date of CommuniCamp™. Cancellations prior to 30 days before the start of program will receive a full refund less minus the reservation deposit. Cancellations with less than 30 days’ notice will not receive a refund. If you are notified that your child has been accepted into the CommuniCamp program, but have decided that you no longer wish to participate, please email your cancellation request to  to cancel your registration up to 30 days before the scheduled CommuniCamp start date for a refund. This does not include the non-refundable $75 application fee, Pre-Camp Meeting deposit fee, or program reservation deposit. No refund will be given to those that cancel within 30 days of the CommuniCamp start date. Cancellations due to inclement weather or medical emergencies: With proof of travel challenges, e.g. flight cancellations, a credit will be applied to the following CommuniCamp™ program and/or S-CAT® Individual Intensive services. If a medical emergency arises, we will address on a case-by-case basis and if documentation of the emergency is provided such as a doctor’s note, funds will be applied to the following CommuniCamp™ program and/or S-CAT® Individual Intensive services. No refunds will be given in the event of inclement weather prior to or during camp, or medical emergencies.
  • “I’ve submitted an application, but now I’d like to attend CommuniCamp™ at a later date. Do I have to apply all over again?” Applicants interested in transferring into a different program may do so one time at no cost. Requests for a one-time application transfer must be submitted in writing to Please include the Month/Year of your original application and the Month/Year of the program you wish to transfer into.
  1. What do the fees for the camp include? There are three steps in the CommuniCamp™ enrollment process–Apply, Meet, Attend–and each step has a different fee associated with it… learn more about the process here.
    • Step 1, Apply: $75.00 (non-refundable online application review fee); The application fee is waived for established patients as they’ve already been reviewed and assessed with the SMart Center.
    • Step 2, Meet: Price varies. $300.00 minimum; however, individualized treatment might be recommended at this step with fees varying in range based on meeting type and clinician. (A non-refundable reservation deposit will be due at time of scheduling this step). 2-3 business days after submitting an application, eligible campers will receive an acceptance letter and be presented with 2-3 meeting options (based clinical recommendation upon review of the application) for the family to choose from. The meeting is waived for SMart Center families who’ve been seen within 6 months to one year. This step may or may not be necessary pending clinician determination for established patients.
    • Step 3, Attend the CommuniCamp™ Program: $1,950.00 ($600.00 non-refundable deposit to secure enrollment and $1,350.00 due 30 days before the program). Children/teens 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, school setting. Campers will be paired/grouped with peers who are similar in their social communication skills to be around those 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™, campers and counselors celebrate their successful completion of CommuniCamp™ with a cookie-decorating party which includes implementation of the S-CAT® strategies they learned throughout the weekend. They will feel proud as they receive their ‘Crossing the Bridge’ certificate from their lead clinician. Parents receive charted goals and information to take home to be shared with the school staff, friends, and family. Parents will receive a support call within a month after camp from their counselor to check in to determine how goals are going and to add support. Please note that families will have the opportunity to meet up with each other the evenings of CommuniCamp™ at local parks, restaurants, etc. This opportunity is wonderful for both campers and parents! Parents shared from previous programs, “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.”

CommuniCamp in action!

Please email for additional questions and information.