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 Brave Voices Selective Mutism Program 
Brave Voices Selective Mutism Program

What is Selective Mutism?

Selective Mutism (SM) is characterized as being freely verbal and comfortable at home, but nonverbal in other social settings, such as school or in the community. Selective Mutism is an anxiety-based disorder and a child is typically fearful and unable to speak. While Selective Mutism itself is not genetic, it is believed that anxiety is fairly heritable. 

More Specifically, SM is:

- Consistent failure to speak in specific settings, in which they are expected to speak

- This failure interferes with their daily functioning either academically or socially

- This failure has lasted for longer than one month

- This failure is not due to a lack of fluency in the specific, desired language or a different communication disorder

What SM is NOT:

- SM is not willful or based in noncompliance

- SM is not simple shyness and children will not typically grow out of it if left untreated.

- Though SM can be common in bilingual children, it is not a result of a discomfort with the English language

How Common is SM?

- Research indicates that SM may occur in as high as 7.1 children per 1,000 children.

- More common in females than males.

- Average age of onset is around 5 years old.

- SM can co-occur with other diagnoses including Social Phobia, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and Depression.

The Brave Voices Program

Our goal is to help your child develop the resources and skills they need to bravely get their voices back. Depending on your child’s age, treatment will include:

- Cognitive Restructuring

- Mindfulness and Relaxation

- Coping Skills Training

- Parent training and in-session participation

- Community-based exposure therapy

- Coordination with your child’s school

School Coordination:

Many of our children with SM experience the most anxiety and difficulty within the school setting. Due to this, we spend a great deal of time working with your child’s school. We typically do this by developing a “key person” or one school staff member that becomes our eyes and ears in the school. We will coach them to implement our strategies inside the school walls. They also serve as the coordinator for other school staff that your child comes into contact with on a daily basis. If needed, we also help to develop:

- Structured behavioral plans

- 504 Plans

- Individualized Education Plans (IEPs)

What Else?

Because SM can have a complex presentation, with potential co-occuring diagnoses, we offer a wide range of other services that can be paired with traditional treatment. These include:

- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Groups for Social Anxiety and Social Skills

- Psychiatry and Medication Management

- Comprehensive Neuropsychological Assessment & Educational Advocacy

- Parent Training

*For more information on SM visit http://www.selectivemutism.org/find-help/treating-professionals/group-child-family-institute

and http://www.selectivemutism.org

Brave Voices Clinical Team

Adam S. Weissman, Ph.D., Chief Psychologist

Michele Barton, Ph.D., Senior Psychologist/Director of Training

Sarah Hatcher, Ph.D., Post-Doctoral Fellow

Laura Tucker, Ph.D., Post-Doctoral Fellow

Melissa Braunstein, Psy.D., Staff Clinician

Emma Romey, LCSW, Staff Clinician

Christina Athineos, M.S., Senior Doctoral Fellow

John DiLallo, M.D., Senior Consulting Psychiatrist

Kristy Castaldo, M.A., CCC-SLP, Speech-Language Pathologist

Expert Consultant: Aimee Kotrba, Ph.D.

Adam S. Weissman, Ph.D.

CFI-Scarsdale:
14 Harwood Court, Suite 512/514
Scarsdale, NY 10583
 

CFI-Greenwich:
2 Greenwich Office Park, Suite 300
Greenwich, CT 06831
 

CFI-Bergen County:
350 Madison Avenue, 1st Floor
Cresskill, NJ 07626
 

CFI-Manhattan:
20 East 49th Street, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10017
 

CFI-Mt. Kisco:
118 North Bedford Road
Mt. Kisco, NY 10549
 

CFI-Park Slope (8th Avenue office):
83 8th Ave., Ground Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11215

CFI-Park Slope (Plaza Street office):
34 Plaza Street East, Suite P105
Brooklyn, NY 11238

CFI-Park Slope (6th Avenue office):
224 6th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11215

CFI-Park Slope (4th Avenue office):
110 4th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11217


Intake Line: (914) 361-5283
Email: info@childfamilyinstitute.com
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Content Copyright © 2011 Adam S. Weissman, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved.

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