Brave Buddies Program

Brave Buddies℠ is an intensive group behavioral treatment program designed to help children ages three to eight with selective mutism (SM) speak in school and other public places. We create a classroom-like setting that offers children a safe environment to practice verbal participation, or what we call “brave talking.”

All Stories

Prior to attending Brave Buddies, children participate in lead-in sessions, which introduce them to the staff they will be working with and help them practice brave talking. Brave Buddies is offered as a multi-day intensive program twice a year, and as one-day sessions several times throughout the year.

The Brave Buddies day is structured like a typical school day, with morning meeting, craft and sport activities, meals, and field trips to places like the library and the park. The staff guides children through progressively more challenging activities, prompting them to use verbal responses and speak spontaneously as they play with other children and adults. Each Brave Buddies day ends with a trip to the Brave Buddies prize store — a chance for children to practice buying a toy on their own with the points they’ve earned for brave talking.

When

One-day sessions, which run from 9:00am to 2:00pm, are still accepting registrations for the following dates:

Multi-day intensive programs, which run from 9:00am to 2:00pm on consecutive days, are being offered on the following dates:

Parent training is a crucial part of Brave Buddies and runs from 9:30 to 11:00am daily.

Where

One-day sessions: Child Mind Institute, 445 Park Avenue at 56th Street in New York City
Multi-day programs: The 92nd Street Y Nursery School, 1395 Lexington Avenue in New York City or Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School, 5 West 93rd Street in New York City.

Eligibility

Children diagnosed with selective mutism (SM) between the ages of three and eight are invited to join Brave Buddies. Multi-day programs are open to current, former and new patients who have been determined to be eligible by the clinical team at the Child Mind Institute. Day-long sessions are for current and former patients only. We offer a number of treatment options for children not eligible for Brave Buddies. Read more about our Selective Mutism Service.

Fees

August five-day program: $3,000
February four-day program: $2,400
One-day session: $600

Parent training sessions are included in the program fee. Caregivers and educators are also welcome to attend. Please note that payment must be received in full to reserve a space in Brave Buddies. Please refer to our cancellation policy for more on nonrefundable deposits and refunds.

Important Information

  • Parent training is a crucial part of Brave Buddies. Parent training runs from 9:30 to 11:00am daily during the Brave Buddies sessions.
  • Lead-In sessions improve the likelihood of your child’s success in the program, and they are also considered a crucial part of Brave Buddies. Lead-in sessions are conducted prior to the first day of training, and if you are coming from out of town this may impact your travel plans. Depending on the specific needs of your child, the lead-in may be a single session or it may be multiple sessions completed over consecutive days just prior to the beginning of training.

Cancellation Policy

  • Multi-day Programs: If a participant cannot attend a multi-day program and a Brave Buddies coordinator is notified within 30 days prior to the start date of the program a refund will be issued, excluding a $300 non-refundable deposit for administrative fees. At the time of registration full payment is required to reserve a space. If less than 30 days notification is given, no refund will be provided.
  • One-day Sessions: If a participant cannot attend the one-day session after registering, a full refund will be provided if the cancellation is made with 30 days prior notice. For cancellations with less than 30 days notification, no refund will be provided.

How to Apply

Please contact our intake team at (212) 308-3118 or email BraveBuddies@childmind.org. An intake coordinator will guide you through a description of our Selective Mutism Service and help you determine whether Brave Buddies is appropriate for your child.

Enrollment is on a first-registered, first-served basis.

To learn more, please read our Frequently Asked Questions about the Brave Buddies Program.

Our Team

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Rachel Busman, PsyD

Senior Clinical Psychologist, Anxiety and Mood Disorders Center; Director, Selective Mutism Service

Child Mind Institute

Lindsay Brand, PhD
Lindsay Brand, PhD

Associate Psychologist, Anxiety and Mood Disorders Center

Child Mind Institute

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Jillian DiPietro, LMSW

Social Worker, ADHD and Behavior Disorders Center

Child Mind Institute

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Janine Domingues, PhD

Clinical Psychologist, Anxiety and Mood Disorders Center

Child Mind Institute

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Michelle S. Kaplan, LCSW

Clinical Social Worker, ADHD and Behavior Disorders Center

Child Mind Institute

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Amanda G. Mintzer, PsyD

Clinical Psychologist, Anxiety and Mood Disorders Center

Child Mind Institute

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Wendy Moyal, MD

Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist

Child Mind Institute

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Elianna Platt, MA, LMSW

Social Worker, Anxiety and Mood Disorders Center

Child Mind Institute

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Natalie Weder, MD

Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist

Child Mind Institute