Intensive outpatient treatment for children with Selective Mutism
Selective Mutism (SM) is a social anxiety disorder in which a child is usually able to speak normally at home but is unable to vocalize in social situations and with certain people. This disorder usually is diagnosed around ages 3-6 during the child’s first experience in the school setting. A child with SM who is hurt or needs to use the bathroom can remain unable to ask for assistance. This is very problematic and can have negative emotional, social and academic effects.
This disorder is not a result of traumatic experiences or because the child is being obstinate. It is not a phase or something the child will simply grow out of on their own. Children with SM need intervention to help them gain confidence and learn skills to practice using their brave voice. The good news is, SM is completely treatable.
TREATING SELECTIVE MUTism
Resilience Camp is an intensive outpatient program designed to help children with SM learn resilience and gain confidence in their speaking abilities. The program is designed to simulate a classroom setting with small groups of peers. The children attend the day camp and are gradually exposed to typical situations (ordering food at a restaurant, asking/answering questions in a group, playing games with peers etc.) in a safe and supportive environment that rewards them for their brave words and hard work. Each child is paired up with a trained brave-talking mentor. Parents receive education and support about how they can best help their child move forward. Research has shown that these types of programs are effective in helping children with SM increase their speech overall and then generalize these skills in other settings.
Individual and family therapy sessions can also be scheduled based on available openings. Behavioral modification therapy, Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) will be used to help the child practice brave talking in various situations, understand and gain coping mechanisms for anxiety, and empower the child and family members in moving forward. Insurances usually can be billed for individual, weekly sessions.
Family Team Meetings are offered to help a child's family, friends, teachers and others to learn more about Selective Mutism and what they can do to best help the child move forward. Education about SM, the do's and the dont's about working with a child with SM, and tricks of the trade will be discussed. Intensive sessions in your child's school can also be scheduled. Call or email Heidi to schedule or for more info.
Aug 2 - Aug 6
(Fade-in sessions Jul 30 - Aug 1)
Due to COVID, we've postponed our annual winter camp to the summer of 2021. Registration is now open! Camp has a capacity for 10 students. Camp fills up fast so call even if you are interested. Each student will be paired up with a peer and a therapist/mentor. If enough teens sign up, we will do a specific teen group that week after school. If you're interested, contact Heidi to see if this is a good option for your child. If you are a parent or a professional who wants to learn more about treating SM, call and see how you can participate.
Resilience Camp cost is $2000. ($500 deposit, $1500 tuition). Insurance cannot be billed for camp, but some insurances will cover individual therapy sessions.
The cost includes:
-- 24 hours of intensive individualized treatment
-- Parent Training (before, during, and after camp)
-- Games, prizes, lunches, and field trips associated with camp
-- One hour of consultation with your child's school administration and teacher(s) at your request
-- A detailed report for the school with recommendations for moving forward
-- Consultation with outpatient therapist for after camp
-- Lifetime of support from treatment team. You can call Heidi at any time.
Holiday celebrations that are supposed to be fun and exciting such as trick-or treating and meeting Santa can be filled with anxiety for kids with SM. Resilient Holiday Celebrations is meant to help children with SM practice brave talking skills in the community.
October 2021 TBA
Resilient Individual & Family Counseling is excited to make trick or treating more accessible and fun for children with SM. Please join us in your Halloween Costume at Heidi’s office. We will start with a few fun games (similar to games played in school for Halloween). We will then practice trick or treating in Heidi’s office and in the other participating offices of Aspire Network. Then we will go trick or treating to the businesses around the community who have all been preparing to appropriately interact with kids with SM! * Social distancing and masks will be implemented.
To sign up call us 801-529-3242 or use the Contact Form.
A Not-So Silent Night 2021
December 2021 TBA
Resilient Individual & Family Counseling wants to make meeting Santa Claus as merry as possible! Most children with SM experience so much anxiety around meeting Santa and being able to tell him what they want for Christmas. We will meet at Heidi’s office to meet with peers and play some holiday games, including a white elephant gift exchange. We will be making a gift wish list. We will then be ordering cookies nearby by ourselves. While we are ordering cookies, some magic will transform Heidi’s office to a winter wonderland and Santa will be waiting for us. We will get to tell him of some of the things we want for Christmas and even get our pictures taken with him. Parents will be given access to the digital download for their own use.
*Cost for each celebration group will be $300 per participant which includes 2 hours of evidenced based group therapy, prizes and snacks for your child. If you would like to use your insurance benefits talk to Heidi to see if this is an option for you. Group will be capped at 6 participants so please contact Heidi for registration as soon as possible.
To sign up call us 801-529-3242 or use the Contact Form.
Heidi Applonie LCSW
Hi, I’m Heidi Applonie. Here’s a little background about me and how I developed Camp Resilience: I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Social Work at Utah State University in 2007 and graduated with honors from the University of Utah with a Master of Social Work in 2008.
I began working with children and adolescents providing play therapy and trauma focused cognitive behavioral therapy. I have 6 years of experience working in the emergency department of Utah Valley Regional Hospital providing crisis intervention for patients and their families. In 2015, I established Resilience Individual & Family Counseling, specializing in psychotherapy with individuals suffering with anxiety, trauma, and mood disorders.
Resilience Camp came as a result of becoming frustrated with a lack of resources in Utah for individuals and families struggling with Selective Mutism. I have watched a child I know personally struggle with this disorder without any resources. It was incredibly heartbreaking. It was equally hopeful and inspiring watching the same child discover her strong voice after receiving specialized treatment at a summer program. I was so impressed at how this child overcame her SM that I was inspired to run my own summer camps and implement SM treatment into my practice.
In the summer of 2017, we completed our first session of camp and it was fun and amazing to watch every child grow and experience small miracles. Resilience Camp provides specialized intensive treatment for children suffering with this disorder, parental training, and training for mental heath professionals. Camp is fun, playful and incredibly rewarding. I look forward to meeting you. See you at camp!
Here are some of my favorite children’s books that can support a family that needs more information about SM:
1) Maya’s Voice, Wen Wen Cheng
2) Lola’s Words Disappeared, Elaheh Boss
3) Willow’s Whispers, Lana Button
4) Selective Mutism: A Parents' Field Guide, Aimee Kotrba
5) Learning To Play the Game: My Journey Through Silence, Jonathan Kohlmeier
I also highly recommend Dr. Kurtz's free training for any parent or professional working with a child with SM.