Brave Buddies Program
Brave Buddies℠ is an intensive group behavioral treatment program designed to help children 3-12 years old 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.”
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.
Due to the COVID-19 situation, we are constantly thinking about how to work with our SM families safely and effectively. To that end, we have made the hard decision to offer VIRTUAL options only for our summer programming. We feel that this is the safest way to deliver our evidenced-based care. At the same time, we are very confident that the virtual Brave Buddies program will be an excellent treatment option that will provide your child with ample brave talking opportunities.
We are offering two distinct virtual Brave Buddies programs: a one-day program and a five-day program.
The virtual one-day Brave Buddies program will include two sessions for each child, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, and children will be assigned to groups by their age. There will also be parent training at a time separate from your child’s sessions, so that you may assist your child with the technology during their sessions. The cost for the one-day virtual program is $400. Once you register, we will send more detail regarding the times you will be attending.
For the virtual five-day program, your child will be assigned to a group by their age. Each day will include two sessions for your child, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, as well as a training session for parents. We will also provide additional materials specifically developed to help you navigate your child’s re-entry to school in the fall. A 15-minute feedback session is included in the price of the program. The cost of the 5-day program is $2000. Once you register, we will send more detail regarding the times you will be attending.
Please sign up now to reserve your spot, as we plan to close registration once we are full.
- One-day virtual program: June 12, 2020
- 5-day virtual program: Monday, August 3 – Friday, August 7, 2020
- One day sessions: Child Mind Institute, 101 East 56th Street, NYC
- Four and five-day sessions: Stephen Gaynor School, 148 W 90th St, NYC
Children diagnosed with selective mutism (SM) between the ages of three and twelve 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. All children should be toilet-trained and able to make it through the 5-hour program without nap time. We offer a number of treatment options for children not eligible for Brave Buddies. Read more about our Selective Mutism Service.
Brave Buddies SM is a group intensive behavioral therapy program to help children with SM ages 3 to 12 speak in school and other public settings. Using a simulated classroom, the program offers children a safe environment to practice “brave talking” with positive feedback. For the older children (8-12) we use a classroom-like structure that is modified to fit the needs of older children. We offer two multi-day programs each year, in February and August, and day-long programs four times a year.
- Five-day virtual program: $2,000
- One-day sessions: $600
- One-day virtual program: $400
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.
- 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.
- 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.