CommuniCamp2021-06-17T15:56:10+00:00

CommuniCamp™ Intensive Group Treatment & Parent Training Program

Upcoming CommuniCamp™ Dates:

August 2021 CommuniCamp™

August 13 @ 6:30 pm - August 16 @ 2:00 pm

October 2021 CommuniCamp™

October 8 @ 6:30 pm - October 11 @ 2:00 pm


What is CommuniCamp™?

Our 3+ Day CommuniCamp™ is an Intensive Group Treatment and Parent Training & Support Program to help parents, children, and teens ages 3-17+ years old with Selective Mutism, social anxiety, and extreme shyness speak in school and other social settings.

There is no restriction based on a child/teen’s social communication level (i.e., Camper’s communication levels range from shut-down and non-communicative, to nonverbal and somewhat communicative, to verbal).

Based on the SMart Center’s 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 environment.
2) Parent education, training, and support seminars.


1) Intensive Group Treatment in Small Peer Groups

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 and lead clinicians will work directly with campers to instill social confidence, increase communication, and facilitate the learning of coping skills.

Our peer groups are strategically small (camper-to-counselor ratio is about 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 therapeutic games, activities, exercises, and strategies for each camper  (more information on our teen program here) and individual baseline Stage® of social communication. Through these strategies, by respecting their baseline stages of communication (Social Communication Bridge) and respecting each camper’s unique needs, our campers progress across the Bridge in a strategic way where they can see and hear themselves communicating confidently in a group school setting. This then translates to their daily lives when they get home as parents, educators and others facilitate strategies to keep progress going (Value of parent education and school training)

2) Parent Education, Training, and Support Seminars

Have an older child/teen? CommuniCamp for Teens could be right for you!

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

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

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

How to Apply:

If you are interested in joining one of our upcoming CommuniCamp’s, please fill out the CommuniCamp™ Interest Form above to receive next steps in registering for our popular CommuniCamp!  Your information will be passed on to our CommuniCamp™ team, and someone will get back to you regarding getting you scheduled!

Who is eligible?

Children and teens in every communication stage — whether your child/teen is completely mute and shut-down, nonverbal, or somewhat communicative.
There is NO requirement for your child/teen to talk to at least one counselor and one peer or to be involved in “lead-in” sessions until the child is “verbal enough” for the treatment.

However, there are some exceptions, made at the clinician’s discretion, for children/teens who would benefit first doing individual treatment first.  For this reason, anyone interested in participating in CommuniCamp™ must first partake in an Intake Interview with a SMart Center clinician to formally assess each child’s unique needs.

Intake

The Intake evaluation is for new families only (or a SMart Center family seen many years ago).
*This step is waived for SMart Center families who’ve been seen within 6 months-1 years.  For families who have not been seen within the past 6+ months, your clinician may determine that a Follow-Up Consultation is needed to reassess the child/teen’s social communication needs (please email us if you have questions).

An Intake is the first step to entering the SMart Center. The Intake is a component of both the individualized and group services for new patients (Intensive, Jumpstart, and CommuniCamp™).

The Intake is meant to deepen our understanding of your child/teens’s unique social communication needs. From this, we can determine ideal group placement at CommuniCamp™ and identify and plan proper treatment strategies to utilize during camp. This will help foster a comfortable, fun, and therapeutic weekend.

You will be asked to complete a comprehensive assessment form before your appointment. This will allow your clinician to gain insight into your child/teen’s social communication stage at home, school, and out in the real world.

The Intake intreview includes:

  • Pre-assessment form review.
  • 1-1½ hour-long session.
  • Virtual or In-person
  • Your clinician learns more about your presenting concerns, reviews recent testing/treatment, developmental history, medical/psychiatric/family history, and the patient’s current social and academic functioning.
  • Your clinician will assess your child’s stages of communication in all social settings.
  • A Selective Mutism screening and diagnosis (if applicable).
  • Both the child or teen and parents participate.
  • A post-session report is provided.

After your intake is completed, acceptance into the CommuniCamp Program will be determined, and you can formally enroll in CommuniCamp. Some families also choose to participate in an individual treatment program (Jumpstart or Intensive Program) before CommuniCamp begins to get familiar with the S-CAT® approach and the SMart Center staff.

What to Expect at CommuniCamp™!

The day before CommuniCamp starts, families unite with a Welcome & Orientation for parents and children at 6:00- 7:00-7:30 PM EST.

Since a golden rule of S-CAT is knowing comfort precedes communication, we implement our well-known CommuniComfort process into camp.
The Welcome & Orientation builds location familiarity and comfort with campers/counselors prior to the first official day of CommuniCamp.

Therapeutic, S-CAT® strategies are incorporated into this pre-camp event so we recommend arriving in the Philadelphia area the afternoon before the program’s first day.

Each CommuniCamp day begins at 9 am and ends at 2 pm.

Campers will have a detailed schedule each day that consists of fun games and activities to foster social comfort, confidence, and communication progression in a school-like setting. Campers work directly with their counselors and clinicians in their small groups, paired with buddies, and in pull-out sessions with our clinicians.

Parents receive education/support during the entire three days of Camp from lead clinicians, Jennifer Brittingham LPC or Dr. Elisa Shipon-Blum, and our clinical staff.
Listen to Dr. Shipon-Blum discuss parent education/support at CommuniCamp.

After CommuniCamp™

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. Learn more about our services by clicking here.

Fees

Intake: $400
**The intake is waived for SMart Center families who’ve been seen within 6 months to one year or upon approval.

In-Person CommuniCamp™ Program: $1,950 ($600 non-refundable deposit to secure enrollment and $1350 due 30 days before camp)

Virtual 1-Day CommuniCamp™ Program: $600

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

WHEN:

CommuniCamp In-Person 2021 Summer Programs:

July 2021
Friday July 16th 2021 – 6:30pm – 7:30pm EST
Saturday July 17th 2021 – 9:00am – 2:00pm EST
Sunday July 18th 2021 – 9:00am – 2:00pm EST
Monday July 19th 2021 – 9:00am – 2:00pm EST

August 2021
Friday August 13th 2021 – 6:30pm – 7:30pm EST
Saturday August 14th 2021 – 9:00am – 2:00pm EST
Sunday August 15th 2021 – 9:00am – 2:00pm EST
Monday August 16th 2021 – 9:00am – 2:00pm EST

WHERE:

CommuniCamp Programs are conducted here:

The Meadowbrook School
1641 Hampton Road
Meadowbrook, PA 19046

Located only 2.5 miles north of the SMart Center
~17 miles from the City of Philadelphia, PA
~30 miles from the Philadelphia International Airport  (there is a Septa train inside Philadelphia airport)
There is a train station ~ 2 miles from Meadowbrook School.  (Septa Station: Meadowbrook).
For families staying in Center City Phila. They will take a train directly to Meadowbrook, then Uber

We recommend staying local to Meadowbrook if possible. There are many hotels, AirB&B’s in the local and surrouding areas.
Click here for recommendations for lodging.

 

Lodging for CommuniCamp

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you determine if my child is eligible to attend CommuniCamp™?2021-02-04T18:45:39+00:00

Each potential camper must first have an Intake Interview with a SMart Center clinician. This Intake, along with the pre-appointment paperwork, gives the clinician a good picture of your child and their social communication needs. The clinician will let you know if they feel the group treatment setting will not suit your child’s unique needs. However, 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 eligible to participate in CommuniCamp™.
Please note: For established SMart Center families who have been seen within six months to one year, the Pre-Camp Intake Interview may or may not be necessary.

Does my child need to be diagnosed with Selective Mutism to attend?2021-02-04T18:49:59+00:00

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 we are already established SMart Center patients?2021-02-04T18:52:04+00:00

As long as your SMart Center clinician feels you are eligible for CommuniCamp™, you may sign up for any of our CommuniCamp events! Just let our SMart Center clinical staff know that you’re interested, and we can get you started with the process!

Do you have recommendations for housing/hotels?2021-02-04T18:53:55+00:00

Yes – for in-person camps (starting back up in summer ’21!). 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™.

For in-person camps, do you provide childcare for siblings? 2021-02-04T18:58:44+00:00

Currently, 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!

It is up to the parents to occupy siblings (iPad/tablet with headphones, books, coloring pages, etc).

  • Older siblings are encouraged to actively listen/participate in learning how to help their sibling with SM.
  • Younger siblings are welcome but may become a distraction to the other parents. In that case, we ask that a family member simply walk them children into the lobby. It’s common for extended family members to attend CommuniCamp to be the go-to person to take young children into the hallway. This way, Mom/Dad don’t have to miss any of the lectures. There is no extra charge for an additional family member who is joining to help with childcare.
Does my child need to speak to at least one person to be eligible for CommuniCamp™?2021-02-04T19:00:58+00:00

Absolutely not.  Children/teens with SM have a social communication anxiety disorder where their communication level will change from setting to setting and from person to person. 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 long as a child is approved via our CommuniCamp™ enrollment process, your child can participate. Your child’s level of communication will dictate group placement and the strategies used each day.

Other SM Group Treatment Programs require patients to be verbal with at least one counselor and one camper. Is that true of CommuniCamp?2021-02-04T19:05:24+00:00

Absolutely not! The SMart Center DOES NOT require “lead-in” sessions to participate in CommuniCamp™!

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 (Social Communication Bridge®)!

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!

Are parent education sessions included?2021-02-04T19:07:27+00:00

Yes! 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 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. Also, 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? I want to speak to a family who has already attended.2021-02-04T19:09:20+00:00

Yes! The majority of CommuniCamp™ families offer to speak about their experience with potential campers. Please send an email to CommuniCamp@SelectiveMutismCenter.org, and we’ll be happy to share the 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.2021-02-04T19:11:35+00:00

For in-person camps, counselors can lead children to the restroom (we also have scheduled bathroom breaks and communication boards present in the campers assigned room); however, counselors cannot physically assist at the toilet. If there’s ever an issue, counselors will reach out to parents/guardians for help.

Can parents join kids in between parent training sessions?2021-02-04T19:14:38+00:00

Parent education, training, and support sessions occur all day, every day. The entire time that your child is working on building comfort, confidence, and communication—so are you! Parents receive a lunch break, and you are encouraged to stay on campus during that time. We offer an optional Parent Networking Luncheon so you can connect with families who are experiencing this journey with you!

With all of this being said, you can always meet/talk with your kids if needed.

What is your insurance policy?2021-02-04T19:16:32+00:00

As a specialty medical practice, SMart Center 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’s 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 CommuniCamp@SelectiveMutismCenter.org for CPT codes.

If a camp is cancelled, registrants can:2021-02-04T19:18:27+00:00

If the SMart Center cancels a camp with no virtual alternative on the same dates, then registrants will have these options:

  1. Transfer funds to a future camp or other SMart Center services
  2. Receive a full refund minus any services already rendered (e.g., pre-camp intake interview held)
If an in-person camp is turned virtual, then families will have these options:2021-02-04T19:20:16+00:00

If the SMart Center converts a scheduled in-person camp to a virtual program, then families will have these options:

  1. Transfer funds to the virtual program
  2. Transfer funds to a future in-person camp
  3. Receive a full refund minus any services already rendered (e.g., pre-camp intake interview held)
What is your cancellation policy?2021-02-04T19:22:36+00:00

Cancellations PRIOR to 30 days before the event:
Are eligible to receive a full refund less:

  1. The pre-camp intake interview deposit fee* and/or full pre-camp intake interview fee if service rendered.
  2. The camp program deposit*

*Noted Exception: COVID-19 related cancellations are eligible for deposit refunds if services have not been rendered. See details below


Cancellations WITHIN 30 days before the event:
Are not eligible for a refund with the following exceptions only:

    1. Cancellations due to inclement weather or medical emergencies:
      1. With proof of travel challenges (e.g., flight canceled), medical emergency (e.g., doctor’s note), a credit will be applied to a future CommuniCamp™ program and/or other services available through the SMart Center. No refunds will be given in the event of inclement weather before/during camp.
    2. COVID-19 Cancellation Policy:
      If a registrant wishes to cancel their camp participation due to COVID-19 related illness, state regulations, and/or health comfort level before the event, registrants will have these options:

      1. Transfer funds to a future camp or other SMart Center services
      2. Receive a refund less: Any services already rendered (e.g., pre-camp intake interview) and a 4% administrative fee with a $50 minimum (to cover administrative time and payment processing fees).
What are the CommuniCamp™ fees?2021-07-22T19:24:19+00:00

Intake Interview: $400
A non-refundable reservation deposit will be due at the time of scheduling this step. The intake is waived for SMart Center families who’ve been seen within 6 months-1 years. This step may or may not be necessary pending clinician determination for established patients.

CommuniCamp™ Program:

  • 3+ Day Camp (in-person): $1950
    A $600 non-refundable deposit to secure enrollment, the remainder is due 30 days before the program.
  • 1 Day Camp (virtual): $600
What happens after CommuniCamp? Are we able to continue with follow up care?2021-07-22T19:33:35+00:00

YES! Follow up is key to long term success. At camp, your child (and you!) will learn many skills, but building on these skills and ongoing guidance on transferring of skills to other settings is needed.

Based on where you live, dictates the type of follow up. For those who can travel for in person appointments, the Monthly S-CAT Program or weekly Psychotherapy are follow up options.

For those who want virtual or telehealth:
1. If you live in a state the SMart Center is licensed, this is considered treatment. We can conduct the Monthly S-CAT Program or weekly psychotherapy with your child/teen.
2. If you live in a state the SMart Center team is not licensed in, we can conduct parent coaching and training services since this is not direct treatment with your child/teen.
3. For international families, we require confirmation of your diagnosis which our team can then provide you updated recommendations/strategies via our parent coaching/training program.

FOR ALL states/countries, school trainings are a professional/non-treatment service and hence can be done in all locations.

Check out our Telehealth page to determine if we can perform telehealth in your state!

What is your Covid-19 Policy?2021-07-22T19:41:37+00:00

We are closely following CDC and Pennsylvania guidelines for all in-person appointments and programs. We strongly advise unvaccinated individuals (children and adults) to wear a mask while at the SMart Center or CommuniCamp program.



CommuniCamp in action!

Please email communicamp@selectivemutismcenter.org for additional questions and information.