SM Intensive Treatment for 10-14 year olds

Winter session 2018-2019 Dates To Be Determined
Please click registration link at bottom of this page for more information.

The BBC World News aired a half-hour documentary about the WeSpeak program. Award-winning documentarian, Harriett Shawcross, spent a week with the WeSpeak families as they went through the program, chronicling their hard work to continue overcoming mutism. Listen and watch as the program's founder, Dr. Shelley Avny, explains the principles guiding this first ever curriculum-based intervention for teens and tweens suffering from SM.

WeSpeak is thrilled to respond to the high demand for and meet the needs of older children with selective mutism (SM) and their parents by being the first ever program to off a curriculum-based group intensive treatment for this population.

WeSpeak has changed the lives of tweens and teens with SM from all over the US and parts of Canada. 

Children prepare videos about themselves, like the one at the left, in advance of coming to WeSpeak to get them used to communicating with their peers.

Knowing the extent to which tweens/teens with SM and their families are suffering, our WeSpeak mission has been three-fold:

  1. Better understand the unique profiles and factors associated with tweens/teens with SM, and equip parents, schools, and other providers with that knowledge through public education and conference presentations;
  2. Use empirically-supported approaches and data-driven program evaluation to develop an intervention that will build kids’ and parents’ confidence and skills in conquering their SM; and
  3. Train other providers in the treatment and techniques so that the treatment is more easily accessible to more kids in need.

What is WeSpeak?

  • Group intensive treatment program for 10-14 year olds with selective mutism
  • Simulated school setting based on the structure, expectations, and demands of older children
  • Developmentally matched to older children’s cognitive and social levels
  • One-to-one model that builds continuous and individualized bravery practice into engaging, fun, and real-world activities

How is it Structured?

  • Each day divided into “periods”like real school day
  • Exercises in each class (e.g., partnering in Science lab, reading aloud in English class)
  • Activities in specials (e.g., performing in music, sharing art projects)
  • Skill of the day (e.g., relaxation, cognitive coping, social skills)
  • Social exposures (e.g., scavenger hunt, field day)
  • Includes a parent-training component for skills and information applicable to parents of older children

Fees & Administrative Details

  • The costs for WeSpeak are divided into three parts:
    • First is your initial screening/intake session with Dr. Avny is $300.  If we decide your child is not appropriate for the program, $150 of this will be refunded to you. If we agree it’s a good fit, we then schedule your child’s “Lead-In Sessions” to fade them into talking with our mentor teachers.
    • The costs for the  “Lead-In Sessions”  will vary from approximately $450 to $1200, depending on how many hours your child takes to respond to the techniques to be able to start talking with us.
    • The cost of the onsite intensive group program is $600 per day.  The 5-day program onsite fee is $3000.
  • Payment plans are available based. Ask our Administrative or SM Intensive Coordinator for details.
  • Financial aid is available on a limited basis based on financial need.
  • Insurance reimbursement: We do not participate in any insurance plans, but we do provide the required documentation for you to submit to your insurance provider.

The Science Behind WeSpeak

  • Uses the same underlying behavioral principles as the camps for younger children that were developed by Dr. Steven Kurtz (Brave Buddies and Mighty Mouth Kids).
  • The model has been presented at national scientific meetings and written up in these two publications: In Focus and Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review.
  • Data from two rounds of WeSpeak were presented at the Association for Depression and Anxiety (ADAA) international meetings in April 2017. Results show improvement in school, social, and community functioning after the program.
  • New data will be presented at the fall 2018 meetings of the Selective Mutism Association (SMA), ADAA webinar, and ABCT convention.
  • We have also presented to professional and parent groups at the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) and the Selective Mutism Association (SMA).

To Get More Information:

  • Click on the request box below, to the right, and a staff member will be in touch within one business day.
  • Contact the SM Intensive Program Coordinator directly at 212.658.0110 ext. 124 or via email at info@kurtzpsychology.com.

To Become a WeSpeak Mentor:  Visit our Training webpage.


WeSpeak | Kurtz Psychology