In the Summer of 2019, the SMart Center created a safe, supportive, fun, and informative experience for 100+ families affected by Selective Mutism. Children and teens between the ages of 3 and 17 from 29 U.S. states and Canada kick-started and/or continued building the coping skills necessary to find comfort and confidence speaking in school and in other social settings. Most children/teens with Selective Mutism have difficulty communicating in school. That’s why we took our evidenced-based S-CAT® program and applied it in a group within an actual school. Since our clinicians and CommuniCamp™ counselors understand selective mutism and the individual child/teen, our campers make progress! Simultaneously, their parents, siblings, grandparents, caretakers, and guardians, were immersed in the world of SM, learning from pioneers in the field of Selective Mutism, and also from each other.
One parent who attended CommuniCamp™ reported, “It was amazing to be around other parents which SM children and to see my child interact with these parents and their children. I realized how much anxiety I was experiencing when people who don’t understand SM approach my child. The skills learned to help my child also help me feel very empowered instead of anxious. It was a cathartic weekend in so many ways!”
The Selective Mutism Research Institute (SMRI) funded the research to study the efficacy of the globally successful treatment approach utilized at CommuniCamp™, Dr. Elisa Shipon-Blum’s evidence-based Social Communication Anxiety Treatment® (S-CAT®). The results of the research showed that 95% of children made a statistically significant increase in their ability to be speak in school and other social settings.
Dr. Shipon-Blum states, “No child or teen should remain mute.” The SMart Center and SMRI strives to empower all children, teens, and young adults with Selective Mutism to overcome their social communication anxieties through evidence-based treatment and resounding education and training programs for their parents, school team, and other professionals. We seek to be a resource for increasing awareness, knowledge, and disseminating research on Selective Mutism and other related social communication anxiety disorders. Through monetary donations and volunteer work, the SMart Center and SMRI move closer to our ultimate goal of spreading awareness and accessibility of S-CAT® treatment for those suffering from Selective Mutism and related social communication disorders.
How can you help change a child or teen’s life?
Visit www.SelectiveMutismCenter.org/research-2 or www.SelectiveMutismResearchInstitute.org to donate. Your contribution will fund enrollment in S-CAT® treatment programs thereby sending more children, teens, and their families to CommuniCamp™ and provide more training programs and opportunities for their parents, teachers, and treatment professionals. The Summer 2019 CommuniCamp™ Season concludes with the August 23-26 session but will resume this Fall, October 11-14, 2019. Learn more and apply by visiting www.CommuniCamp.org or email CommuniCamp@SelectiveMutismCenter.org.
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©.