Frequently Asked Questions

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.

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 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 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).
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)
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)
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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!

For in-person camps, do you provide childcare for siblings? 2021-09-03T18:32:43+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 their 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.
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™.

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!

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.

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.

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.

Do you have references of families I can speak to who have gone through treatment at the SMart Center?2019-11-26T22:04:59+00:00

Absolutely! Please email SMartCenter@selectivemutismcenter.org and use References as the subject line. Let us know what program you are interested in, Individual or CommuniCamp™ (or both!) along with where you live and the age of your child/teen with Selective Mutism.

What is the success rate of S-CAT®?2019-11-26T22:00:15+00:00

For a complete understanding of the Selective Mutism Research Institute (SMRI) and research on our world-renowned, S-CAT® treatment program, visit https://selectivemutismcenter.org/research-2/.

Based on our research, over 95% of participants showed a statistically significant increase in their ability to be verbal from session to the next. These patients have overcome their silence, are verbal communicators, and are now significantly more comfortable socially. After S-CAT®, most no longer required school accommodations to aid in communication.

Click here to read the results summary.

Click here to download the full study.

Families who found success with S-CAT®:

  • Completed consistent recommended follow-ups (once every three to four weeks)
  • Dedicated themselves to being educated as parents
  • Educated school personnel about Selective Mutism and the individual child’s needs
  • Developed and implemented of school accommodations and interventions (Note: academic achievement is dependent upon the correct placement and appropriate accommodations)
  • Involved the child’s participation and willingness/motivation to receive help.

Success Stories

What is Social Communication Anxiety Treatment® (S-CAT®)?2019-11-26T21:14:09+00:00

For a complete understanding of S-CAT®, visit https://selectivemutismcenter.org/socialcommunicationanxietytreatment/.

Social Communication Anxiety Treatment® (S-CAT®) is an evidence-based treatment approach based on the concept that Selective Mutism is a social communication anxiety disorder that is much more than just not speaking. S-CAT® integrates components of behavioral-therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and an insight-oriented approach to increase social communication and promote social confidence. Developed by Dr. Elisa Shipon-Blum and studied by the Selective Mutism Research Institute (SMRI), S-CAT® is utilized exclusively at the SMart Center. It has been used to successfully treat more than 6,000 children, teens, and adults with Selective Mutism (SM), social anxiety, extreme shyness, and related social communication issues.

Dr. Shipon-Blum created the Stages of Social Communication Comfort Scale to describe the various stages of social communication that are possible for an individual suffering from Selective Mutism. The Social Communication Bridge® (pictured right) illustrates this concept in a visual form.

Tactics such as systemic desensitization, modeling, fading, positive reinforcement, etc. enable the child to development social engagement skills and to progress communicatively in a step-by-step manner at home, in school, and in real world settings. Treatment is individualized and based on the individual’s unique needs.

A key principle of this treatment is understanding that those suffering from Selective Mutism change their stage of social communication based on the setting and the expectations from others within a setting. A child with Selective Mutism will have difficulty socially engaging and communicating nonverbally (or may not be able to communicate at all) when feeling anxious or uncomfortable. For some children, mutism is the most noted symptom of this anxiety. This usually means that they are able to engage nonverbally with others via their astute nonverbal skills (like professional mimes). These children are stuck in the nonverbal stage of communication and suffer from a subtype of SM called: Speech Phobia©. This subtype of SM demonstrates that although mutism is the most noted symptom in most of our children, it merely touches on the surface of what’s going on. A complete understanding of the individual is necessary to develop an appropriate treatment plan, school based accommodations, and/or interventions.


How does the SMart Center treat Selective Mutism?2019-11-26T18:48:23+00:00

Dr. Elisa Shipon-Blum‘s evidence-based Social Communication Anxiety Treatment® (S-CAT®) is the treatment approach exclusively used at the SMart Center. The SMart Center is the only facility in the world to utilize this globally successful approach in the treatment of Selective Mutism.

Upcoming CommuniCamp™ Dates:

February 2022 CommuniCamp™

February 18, 2022 @ 6:30 pm - February 21, 2022 @ 2:00 pm

March 2022 CommuniCamp™

March 25, 2022 @ 6:30 pm - March 28, 2022 @ 2:00 pm

July 2022 CommuniCamp™

July 7, 2022 @ 6:30 pm - July 10, 2022 @ 2:00 pm

Early August 2022 CommuniCamp™

August 5, 2022 @ 6:30 pm - August 8, 2022 @ 2:00 pm