Meet Joseph

At 3 ½ years old, Joseph’s parents noticed he did not talk to any of his teachers in preschool. He did everything he was supposed to do, but did not talk to his teachers. When he was home, he spoke all the time. When he was with certain family members he would talk but then when he was with others he did not know as well, he would just sit quietly. The therapist he was seeing was at a standstill. She suggested the family find someone else to work with him. Mom reports, “I did some research and came across the SMart Center. [Their “comfort precedes communication” philosophy] was a big thing we did not know about before the SMart Center. Most of the treatments we tried were basically trying to get Joseph to talk by bribing him or rewards, which did not work for him.

After attending CommuniCamp™ and following-up with the SMart Center approx. once every 6-8 weeks, his progress has been amazing in such a short period of time! [Since then] Joseph’s biggest accomplishment was doing the school spelling bee, not once but twice! He got up in front of peers and teachers on the microphone! He is doing great in school and raises his hand to ask questions. He will answer the teacher if called on. He is more open to doing things he wouldn’t do before, like staying at his friend’s house without me or his dad and/or going someplace with them. He is getting more comfortable being with extended family.”

Joseph’s mother reports the S-CAT® strategies that helped him the most were:

  • Comfort over communication
  • Talking about topics of interest
  • Bridging up and down and knowing when to do it
  • Big shot/show-off rolls, exp. his guitar playing. with him really gets him interested and talking. Check out Joseph playing his guitar at the SMart Center:
  • And so many more!

Joseph’s mother has advice for families seeking treatment via SMart Center Services:

“Don’t give up! It seems like a lot in the beginning but it’s just knowing how the use the tools the SMart Center provides you with [learned during CommuniCamp™ Parent Training and in individualized follow-up consultations]. A school consult is a must so they understand what makes your child comfortable and they can implement the same strategies you are using at home. Your child spends a lot of time in school so it’s very important they understand what makes your child thrive. CommuniCamp™ was the best thing we ever did. We learned so much!”

The steps to enroll in CommuniCamp™ are easy as 1-2-3! Call 215-887-5748 to learn more, or click here for more detailed information:

To effectively overcome Selective Mutism and all anxieties, an individual needs to be involved in a treatment program, such as those rooted in evidenced-based Social Communication Anxiety Treatment® (S-CAT®), like Individualized Intensivesand CommuniCamp. Developed by Dr. Elisa Shipon-Blum, this holistic or “whole-person” treatment approach is designed to reduce anxiety, build self-esteem, increase social comfort and communication in all settings. 
As a physician, Dr. Elisa Shipon-Blum (“Dr. E”) views SM as a social communication anxiety where mutism is merely a symptom. The key to an effective treatment plan is understanding factors that contribute to the development and maintenance of SM as well as understanding a child’s baseline stage of social communication on the Social Communication Bridge©. Then, working as a team, the treatment professional, parents, and school staff members help the child build coping skills to combat anxious feelings and to progress across the Social Communication Bridge©.