SMRI seeks to be a resource for increasing awareness, knowledge, and disseminating research on Selective Mutism and other related social communication anxiety disorders. SMRI focuses primarily on the understanding and treatment of Selective Mutism using Dr. Elisa Shipon-Blum’s evidence-based (thanks to SMRI!) S-CAT® (Social Communication Anxiety Treatment®) Program. We want to provide training programs and educational workshops to treatment professionals and teachers, and funding to families. In doing so, SMRI is moving closer to the ultimate goal of spreading awareness and accessibility of this evidenced-based approach for children/teens and adults suffering from SM and related social communication disorders.

SMRI is immersed in working to increase the understanding of selective mutism every day. SMRI research is conducted with the ultimate goal of helping professionals to better understand how to assess and treat SM, so that those affected will have more access to S-CAT®. With the most efficient and successful treatment programs available, SMRI hopes to help decrease the prevalence of this disorder that causes so many to suffer in silence.

Our Mission

The Selective Mutism Research Institute (SMRI) is a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing knowledge and awareness of selective mutism and related social communication disorders. In support of this mission, SMRI is committed to the following activities:

  • Education/Training: SMRI seeks to further knowledge of the assessment and treatment of selective mutism and related social communication disorders among professionals through education and training initiatives. SMRI aims to increase the number of treatment professionals who are trained in evidence-supported assessment and treatment methods for selective mutism, particularly in the S-CAT® approach.
  • Research: SMRI supports:
    • research on the diagnosis, assessment, and treatment of selective mutism. Specifically, SMRI conducts research on the evidence-supported Social Communication Anxiety Treatment (S-CAT)® program.
    • research that promotes understanding of the etiology, development, and maintenance of selective mutism symptoms, including comorbid conditions, factors that impact treatment progress, and the effects of selective mutism throughout the lifespan.
    • the dissemination of research on selective mutism through professional presentations and publications.
  • Scholarships: SMRI seeks to
    • provide grants for doctoral students, researchers, universities, and clinicians doing dissertations on Selective Mutism
    • contribute donations to The SMart Center’s “Mr. B Scholarship Award” which provides financial assistance to families to receive S-CAT® services and attend CommuniCamp™.
  • Awareness: SMRI promotes awareness of selective mutism as social communication anxiety disorder via the above outlets. SMRI emphasizes increasing awareness of selective mutism and evidence-supported methods of assessment and treatment.

Our Story

It all started with a family from Chicago, IL who had a child with Selective Mutism. After years of their child struggling with this disorder and making minimal progress in treatment, they began looking for new answers. Their search landed them at a Selective Mutism Anxiety Research and Treatment Center (SMart Center) conference, listening to world-renowned SM expert, Dr. Elisa Shipon-Blum, speak of the S-CAT® Program she created and performs at her center in Jenkintown, PA. This was enough for this family to book their first appointment at the SMart Center to begin the treatment for their child.

With Dr. Shipon-Blum’s S-CAT® Program, their child made quick and amazing progress! So much so, they became motivated and committed to studying and spreading the word about this program that changed their lives. Hence, they founded the Selective Mutism Research Institute (SMRI). Their first act of business of the institute was to study the efficacy of this S-CAT® Program that proved so successful for them and their child.

We at SMRI are so proud and grateful that due to the dedication and contributions of this family, the S-CAT® Program is now an evidence-based treatment!