Summer is a time for fun, sun, relaxation, and time with your child. This time of year often brings changes in daily schedules with less time, or no time at all, spent on schoolwork and extracurricular activities. While this can be refreshing, it can also bring concerns of maintaining growth, keeping your child engaged with peers, and preparing for the next school year. Children with selective mutism often become comfortable in their safe environment over the summer break causing the worries to build back up and making the beginning of school difficult. It’s important to plan ahead for the coming school year and to find opportunities for your child to have interactions with situations, people, or experiences that allow them to practice their brave talking and interactions. Making these activities a priority throughout the summer months will help to make the transition to school easier for your child and you.
Below are some ideas to help you create a list of your own that is unique to your child and their needs:
1. Request to meet your child’s new teacher before the end of the school year. This is a great opportunity for the new teacher to engage in games, group activities, or 1-on-1 time with your child. Interacting with their new teacher in a fun way will help them be comfortable faster in the fall.
2. Practice going to school throughout the summer. Get up early, get dressed, put on their backpack, drive to their school, play on the playground or other similar activity, and drive home to celebrate. Practicing going to school will help your child remember their morning routine and allow them to practice being comfortable at school.
3. Consider enrolling your child in a summer camp or program that fits their needs. Summer may be a good time for your child to engage in an intensive treatment in a fun atmosphere (see the list below). Additionally, summer camps provide a fun atmosphere for your child to engage with their peers and complete activities. Before enrolling your child, consider their interest in the camp, the size of the camp, and the camp’s ability to accommodate their speaking and anxiety. If a camp away from home is too much for your child, explore day camp options or groups run by local mental health professionals.
4. Create a summer “bucket list” or plan activities within your community that will help your child practice speaking and interacting. Some examples are:
a. Library reading groups or activities
b. Attend summer movie programs
c. Church/religious groups or activities
d. Play dates
e. Visits with extended family or friends
f. Extracurricular activities
g. Classes that interest them, e.g. art, music, cooking classes
h. Make a lemonade stand
i. Go to the park
j. Local recreation centers, such as the YMCA
k. Take lessons, such as swimming
l. Volunteer at a nursing home to play games or read with residents
m. Volunteer with local organizations, and consider such activities as taking tickets or welcoming people
n. Write a play and perform in front of comfortable people at home or in a public place
o. Write or talk to a pen pal
p. Visit a national park and practice asking rangers questions
q. Order their food or treat in public
r. Random acts of kindness
s. Go to farmer’s markets or local events
t. Attend outdoor concerts
No matter what you decide to do, remember to challenge your child
and HAVE FUN!
Mirae J. Fornander, B.A.
SMA Board of Directors
Summer 2018 Intensive Programs
Alvord, Baker & Associates, LCC
Chevy Chase, MD
August 13-17th: The (Cool, Confident and Courageous) Kids Camp
Intensive, behaviorally focused, program for children ages 4 to 9 with Selective Mutism.
301-593-6554, ext. 57 or ext. 40
Catherine Eckel, Ph.D. and Dr. Agredano
Campbell, California (Silicon Valley)
June 25-29th: Freedom Camp: Selective Mutism Intensive Treatment
Fun-filled days will provide children with opportunities to practice using their brave voices in individual, small group, whole group settings, and field trips to the shopping center.
Child Mind Institute
New York, NY
June 15th: Brave Buddies
Cornerstone Child and Family Psychology Clinic
Vancouver, British Columbia Canada
August 20-24th: Camp Brave
Lead-ins to camp will be the week before.
Joleen R. Fernald Pediatric Therapy Services
Tampa Bay Area- Florida
Multiple Dates: RE-Connections Summer Program
Regulating Emotions and Supporting Individual Differences by Building Relationships for ages 3-7 years.
Courageous Kids Camp
August 3 – August 5
Three day intensive camp for the treatment of children with Selective Mutism
660 S Albion St #427, Denver, CO 80222
For more information, contact Sheila Lepkin, MA, NCSP
New York, NY- Temple Israel
August 13-17th: Mighty Mouth Kids
Mighty Mouth Kids is the intensive group treatment model that Dr. Steven Kurtz pioneered for children 3-9 years old with selective mutism. Mighty Mouth Kids replicates a school setting in an analog classroom with 1:1 counselor to camper ratio that allows goals and needs to be individualized. Parent training and live parent coaching are also included.
July 16-20th: WeSpeak
WeSpeak is the first ever intensive program for older kids with selective mutism. WeSpeak has a simulated school setting based on the structure and expectations of older children; all activities target verbalizations with adults and peers that mirror the demands of this age group.
NYU Child Study Center
New York City, NY
August 20-23rd: Camp Courage
Children between the ages of 4-12 years will be placed in
For more information, please contact Lauren Knickerbocker, Ph.D., Richard Gallagher, Ph.D. Christopher LaLima, Ph.D. at firstname.lastname@example.org
July 16-20, 2018
Fade in sessions July 12-13
July 30-August 3
Fade in sessions July 26-27
Registration is still open but only a few spots remain! If you are interested in 2018 Summer programs, please contact Heidi. Camp has a capacity of 6-8 per session. Each child will be paired with a brave-talking mentor.
This summer we will be doing two weeks of camp, divided into same age peer groups. The second session will be for pre-teens and teens.
In order to register for camp please contact Heidi for a free phone consultation at (801)529-3242.
SMart Center (Selective Mutism Anxiety Research & Treatment Center)
Greater Philadelphia Area
July 26-29th OR August 17-20th: CommuniCamp Intensive Group Treatment for Selective Mutism, Social Anxiety, & Extreme Shyness
Rated “Excellent” and “Highly-Recommended” by 100% of families, CommuniCamp Intensive Group Program uses Dr. Elisa Shipon-Blum’s globally successful, evidence-based S-CAT® treatment model for Selective Mutism and social anxiety. Our world-renowned experts instill social confidence and increase communication for children and teens (ages 3-15) at every level of communication: completely mute, nonverbal, somewhat verbal, etc. by integrating components of behavioral therapy, CBT, and an insight-oriented approach.
Sutcliffe Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics
Menlo Park, CA- Open Mind School
Multiple Dates: Mighty Mouth Kids Selective Mutism Program
1:1 counselor to child ratio. Lead-in session July 30th- August 3rd will be held at Sutcliffe
Please email Hedva Redlich at Hedva@SutcliffeDBP.com
Brighton and Chelsea, Michigan
July 30-August 3rd: Confident Kids Camp
Year-round intensive style treatment is also offered on an individual basis.