Meet Mia

At age 4, Mia was mute at school and with any person other than her mom, dad, and brother. Mia’s family turned to the SMart Center when they felt that Mia was not receiving the treatment she needed. Mia’s mom explains that Dr. Elisa Shipon-Blum’s S-CAT® treatment approach offered at the SMart Center “is different because it assesses the child’s feelings when something is hard for them. It also allows them to use other strategies to communicate in their comfort zone while pushing them a little at a time. The Social Communication Bridge® also gives a wonderful visual on how your child communicates.

After attending the CommuniCamp ™ Intensive Group Treatment & Parent Training Program, Mia’s mom reports that Mia has made tremendous progress. Mia’s mom explains that “Mia’s grandma attended CommuniCamp ™ with us and Mia started talking to her before we left Pennsylvania!” After attending CommuniCamp ™, “Mia speaks to her mom’s family, she is participating in school by raising her hand, dances to songs, and points when her teacher asks a question. She has also recently ordered her food at a restaurant using a Verbal Intermediary®!” Mia’s mom explains that after attending CommuniCamp ™, “Mia is happier and more confident!”

In regard to the S-CAT ® strategies introduced to Mia and her family at CommuniCamp™, Mia’s mom explains that “Mia loved using her Feelings Chart and making sounds to represent words. This really helped her begin to talk when she was stuck!”

Mia’s mom has advice for families seeking treatment via SMart Center services: “The key advice I would give is get your school and family involved. Use these people to help implement the strategies learned. Also, we have stopped using the word ‘talk’ and this has made a huge difference.”

If you are considering enrolling your family in an upcoming CommuniCamp™ Intensive Group Treatment & Parent Training Program with the SMart Center and would like to speak with Mia’s mom about her experience, please email so we can connect you!

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 Intensives and 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©.