The FIU Brave Bunch Summer Treatment Program is a week-long intensive group program for children ages 4-10 who have been diagnosed with selective mutism or who have difficulty speaking in social situations at school, in public, with unfamiliar people, and/or other contexts. The FIU Brave Bunch Program simulates a classroom, which provides guided opportunities for these children to interact with a number of new children and adults, participate in classroom-like activities (e.g., morning meeting, circle time, show and tell, group creative projects), engage in field trips (e.g., to the mall), and play socializing games that promote verbal participation (‘brave talking’) and spontaneous speaking.
The children have snacks and lunch together each day providing further brave talking and socializing opportunities guided by our expert clinical team. Using positive reinforcement for their brave talking and participation, children earn participation points/checks throughout the day that are traded in for rewards at our Prize Store at the end of each day. We anticipate having space for 16 children in our camp this year, so that we can help guide each child toward their individually-established goals. Parents (other caregivers and educators also welcome) will have the opportunity to participate in 8 hours of additional training in which they can work with trained therapists and role-play how best to support their child.
Prior to the start of the program, children will undergo a diagnostic evaluation and attend sessions with their therapist who will provide individual support during the FIU Brave Bunch Summer Treatment Program. During these sessions, therapists will work to gradually have the children interact and become prepared for talking with their peers and other adults during the camp. These lead-in sessions and the camp will occur at FIU’s Center for Children and Families.
Our intention is to have the upcoming Brave Bunch 2024 camp in-person. We will follow University and CDC guidelines regarding COVID-19.
July 15-18th, 2024
The cost of the camp is based on a sliding scale that considers annual income and number of dependents. In order to determine if your family qualifies for a fee reduction, you must provide us with the necessary paperwork to document your family’s yearly income. This may include a copy of your family’s most recent tax returns, or recent pay stubs from all relevant caregivers. The cost of the camp includes a complete full psychological assessment before treatment, a brief report to document results of the assessments and participation in the treatment program, lead-in sessions prior to the camp, 40 hours of child group treatment during the camp, 8 hours of parent training during the week of the camp, and school support materials.
A 20% deposit is required upon registration to reserve a spot (the remaining balance to be paid prior to the first day of the program). Please note this is on a first come, first serve basis and space is limited. Spots will not be reserved without an application and paid deposit. Please contact us for additional information.
If your family is from out-of-town family and you are looking for accommodations, please click here – we have highlighted hotels close to the location of the camp, some of which families have used in the past and recommended.
If your family cannot attend and we are notified within 30 days prior to the start of the lead-in sessions, a refund will be issued, excluding the non-refundable deposit for administrative fees. If less than 30 days’ notice is given, even for COVID related concerns, no refund will be provided as we would not be able to fill the spot on such short notice.
If you do decide to attend, we strongly advise obtaining whatever trip cancellation insurance you can and being mindful of the cancellation policies of any travel plans you make.
HOW TO APPLY:
More detailed information:
Once the application and deposit are received, a therapist will be reaching out to you soon to set up a time to complete an evaluation over the phone/Zoom and let you know what the next steps will be. In the meantime, please see below for more answers to questions about Brave Bunch.
The camp runs 9 AM-3 PM Monday-Friday, with parent training sessions taking place Monday-Thursday 3 PM-5 PM; we strongly recommend that ALL parents attend parent training (grandparents and other relevant caretakers are also welcome to attend parent training). During parent training time, we offer free childcare for children participating in the camp as well as their siblings, serving as additional time for your child to practice their brave talking.
The Lead-in sessions that occur prior to camp will take place at the Center for Children and Families at FIU (11200 SW 8th Street, Miami, FL 33199; click for directions to the Center). The camp takes place at Paul W. Bell Middle School (11800 NW 2nd St, Miami, FL 33182), which is 5-10 minutes away from the Florida International University main campus where the Center for Children and Families is located.
Brave Bunch FAQs
We would like to address questions frequently asked by families, please take a moment to review them carefully:
What if the evaluation shows that the camp isn’t the appropriate service for my child?
We will return your deposit and provide appropriate recommendations for other treatment programs either at the Center for Children and Families or at one of our referral sites.
Is Brave Bunch covered by insurance?
Our program does not accept insurance.
What if my child does not speak to the counselors during lead-in sessions prior to the camp?
We require each child to speak to 2 counselors during lead-in sessions (and hopefully more) before being deemed eligible for the camp. This requirement is in place due to years of experience during which time we have observed that children who have not met this criterion, but still participate in the camp, do not make as many gains. We make every effort possible to have children meet this requirement. However, it can happen (though not often) that some children are unable to speak to counselors prior to the camp, despite our special techniques. This may mean that your child would benefit more from a different format of treatment to best suit their needs.
If this occurs, your child will not be enrolled in the camp and we will be unable to refund your deposit, but we will not charge you for the remainder of the camp fees. Please note this applies to ALL families (even out-of-state families).
If you are an out of town family please keep in mind that the latest that you can come in for your first session is the Wednesday before camp (Wednesday, July 10, 2024). This is to give your child the best opportunity to meet the criteria to make it into the camp, giving us the most time to work with them in the event that they do not speak to a counselor during their first scheduled session. We appreciate your understanding. We want your child to be as successful as possible!
What should I pack?
Each morning, you should pack lunch, 2 snacks, and water for your child and you should apply sunscreen to your child before camp begins. We will not provide other snacks throughout the day. You should also pack comfortable clothes and closed-toed shoes for your child. The classrooms are air conditioned, however many activities will be outside (the temperature in Miami can range between 85-95 degrees F in the summer). Each day of the program will be themed so you can send your child dressed in the following themes: Favorite Color Day, Animal Day, Wacky Wednesday, Sports Day, and Favorite Character Day.
If you would like to learn more about the camp, or selective mutism in general, here are some links that you might find helpful: