JENKINTOWN, Pa., March 29, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The SMart Center, which specializes in the research and treatment of selective mutism and other social communication disorders, announced today that the Journal of Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry has published a groundbreaking study on the efficacy of SMart Center Director Dr. Elisa Shipon-Blum's Social Communication Anxiety Treatment (S-CAT)® Program in treating children with selective mutism (SM).
The article, "Social Communication Anxiety Treatment for Children and Families with Selective Mutism: A Pilot Study," appears in the March 2016 issue of the prestigious journal.
Principal investigators Dr. Evelyn Klein and Dr. Sharon Armstrong, associate professors at LaSalle University. assessed the effectiveness of the S-CAT Program in treating 40 children aged 5-12 years with SM. The study tracked and analyzed the progress of the children for changes in social communication in the home as well as public and school settings during 15 weeks of S-CAT treatment.
The researchers became interested in the S-CAT Program because of "its potential for delivering therapy in a shorter time frame compared to previous therapies," according to the article.
The study found that over the research period of less than four months, the children made statistically significant improvements in their ability to speak in school and other social settings following S-CAT® therapy as measured by the Selective Mutism Questionnaire (SMQ).
"We are excited by this study as it reinforces and validates the success that we have been seeing for years in treating thousands of children, teens and young adults around the world with our S-CAT program," said Dr. Shipon-Blum, who is internationally recognized for her pioneering work in selective mutism.
"Although mutism is the most noted symptom of selective mutism, 'not speaking' merely touches on the surface of our children," she added. "A complete understanding of the child is necessary to develop an appropriate treatment plan for home, the real world and in school."
The research was conducted through the Selective Mutism Research Institute (SMRI), a privately funded institute dedicated to researching and disseminating new treatment options and advances for treating the widely misunderstood and frequently misdiagnosed disorder known as selective mutism.
Selective mutism is a complex anxiety disorder characterized by a child's inability to speak and communicate effectively in select social settings, such as the school. When not properly treated, SM can wreak havoc on a child's academic success and can persist into teenage and adult years, creating lifelong social communications issues.
More common than autism, SM affects approximately seven of 1,000 children globally. Children with SM are often misdiagnosed with other disorders such as autism, learning disabled, oppositional defiance, speech/learning disorders, or just considered shy. As a result, they are not properly treated, and their problems persist.
The SMart Center will be holding a Selective Mutism "In the School" Conference on Friday, April 15 at the Holiday Inn Philadelphia-Cherry Hill, NJ. Chaired by Dr. Shipon-Blum, the conference will provide parents, teachers, school personnel and treating professionals with insights, techniques and proven strategies for helping children with SM succeed in the classroom.
About the SMart Center
The SMart Center specializes in research and treatment of selective mutism and other social communication disorders. Directed by international expert and researcher Dr. Elisa Shipon-Blum, who pioneered cost-effective treatments of selective mutism, the center offers its proven, evidenced-based Social Communication Anxiety Treatmenttm (S-CATtm), which has helped thousands of children overcome selective mutism and related social communication disorders.
The Social Communication Anxiety Treatment and S-CAT are registered trademarks of the SMart Center.
Media Contact: Jim Kerr, 215 887 5748
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SOURCE SMart Center