Adventure Camp Study


Research examining effective treatments for SM is on the rise but still relatively underdeveloped. SM is characterized by a "consistent failure to speak in specific social situations in which there is an expectation for speaking (e.g., school) despite speaking in other situations," (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). SM is typically recognized in school when a child does not talk after one month or more of being in school. The child may not speak to teachers, peers, and sometimes not even to their parents in the school setting, despite speaking normally at home. SM is conceptualized as an anxiety disorder and has 97% comorbidity rate with social anxiety disorder (Black & Udhe, 1995; Dummit et al., 1997; Yeganeh et al., 2003). Even though anxiety disorders are the number one mental illness in children and adolescents, they remain the least understood mental health problem in this population (Costello et al., 1996; Zahn-Waxler et al., 2000). There's even less understanding of SM, which, according to Bergman et al. (2002), has a prevalence rate of .71%, affecting about 1 out of every 140 children. Furthermore, there is insufficient knowledge about effective treatments for SM. As of the date of this writing, there are only two randomized controlled trials for SM treatment (Bergman et al., 2013; Oerbeck et al., 2013), both of which have demonstrated significant findings for behaviorally-focused exposure therapy, and maintenance of treatment gains at one-year follow-up (Oerbeck et al., 2014).


The purpose of this study is to investigate the treatment effect of Adventure Camp (AC) - an intensive, behaviorally-focused exposure therapy program for children with selective mutism (SM). The reason this study is needed is to address the dearth of research for SM treatement, and to add to the understanding of cognitive behavioral exposure therapy for treating SM.


We are excited to share that 91% of the 2016 Campers showed improvement in the School Domain from the Baseline measure to the 3-Month Post Camp measure, and 95% of 2016 campers showed improvement in the Public/Social Domain from the Baseline measure to the 3-Month Post Camp measure.

If you are interested in learning more about our study please email