Meet Our Staff
Treatment Professionals at the SMart Center
Elisa Shipon-Blum, D.O.
President and Director
Dr. Shipon-Blum is the President & Director of the Selective Mutism Anxiety Research & Treatment Center (SMart Center) located in Jenkintown, PA, just outside of Philadelphia. She is the Director Emeritus & Founder of the Selective Mutism Group (SMG). Dr. E is Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychology & Family Medicine at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. She is published in peer-reviewed journals, is an accomplished author & has been a featured expert on national television shows such as 20/20, CNN, Good Morning America & Inside Edition. Dr. E has been featured in People Magazine, Time Magazine, New York Times, Chicago Tribune & other national/international media. She has developed the treat¬ment approach, Social Communication Anxiety Treatment (SCAT), that has been used successfully with thousands of children worldwide. Dr. E is a parent of a child who had and overcame SM! * Disclosure: Dr. Elisa Shipon-Blum; President and Director of the Smart Center, author has self-published of several books and training materials related to Selective Mutism from which she receives revenue/royalties distributed by amazon.com and the Selective Mutism Center Store . Dr. Shipon Blum also distributes materials and products by other authors on Selective Mutism and related topics. Dr. Shipon-Blum has no relevant nonfinancial relationships to disclose.
Jennifer Brittingham, M.A.
Support Counselor, On-Site Office Manager
Jennifer Brittingham is the Support Counselor at the SMart Center who
works with parents and children to help implement their treatment
plans. She has also worked as the Office Manager at the center since
2005. She graduated from Arcadia University with her Masters of Arts in
Clinical Counseling in 2008 and was a Pennsylvania Counseling
Association Graduate Leader from 2007 to 2008. Jennifer has worked as a
case manager for children with mental retardation, elementary school
special education resource assistant, as well as a college drug and
alcohol counselor and support group leader.
Donna Spillman-Kennedy, MS, CCC/SLP
Speech and Language Services, CE Administrator
Donna Spillman-Kennedy MS, CCC-SLP has for the past 24 years treated children, adolescents, and adults with developmental disabilities as well as a variety of speech-languagecommunication disorders. Donna has dedicated her career to helping non-verbal individuals meet their maximum communication potential. Since 1992, she has been an adjunct instructor at 3 different Universities teaching both graduate and undergraduate students. Donna is a New Jersey based consultant for the Smart Center serving the NY, NJ & PA area. She conducts conferences as well as provides consultation services to children and schools. Donna is also the parent of a child who has suffered from selective mutism. Disclosure: Donna Spillman-Kennedy, consultant to the SMart Center, has no relevant
financial or nonfinancial relationships to disclose
Laura Bansemer is the Administrative Assistant at the SMart Center. She
earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Muhlenberg
College graduating magna cum laude and phi beta kappa. With over 10
years of customer service experience, Laura was previously a weight loss
counselor and then a call center director.
Research Associate, Selective Mutism Research Institute
Skira, BA, is the Research Associate at the Selective Mutism Research
Institute, where she is currently working on a research grant studying
the efficacy of Dr. Shipon-Blums treatment approach, Social
Communication Anxiety Therapy (S-CAT). She earned Bachelor of Arts
degrees with Honors in Psychology and Sociology from La Salle University
in 2011. Her previous research experience includes analyzing
depression, anxiety and coping in pediatric kidney transplant recipients
at the Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia. In addition, she held a
Child Policy intern position with the Support Center of Child Advocates
researching child protection legislation during her college career. She
aims to gain an advanced degree in Family and Child Psychology.
Research Consultant and SMart Center Liaison
Janice Ann Gordon, B.A. serves as a Research Consultant to the Selective
Mutism Research Institute. Janice earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in
Psychology from Franklin and Marshall College in 2008 and is currently
attending La Salle Universitys full-time Master of Science program in
Speech Language Hearing Sciences. Janice served as the Research
Associate for SMRI from its conception in 2008 through 2011, and she was
an integral part in the start-up success of SMRI. She has presented at
several recent SMart Center conferences on topics related to
speech-language assessments for children with selective mutism. Through
the Selective Mutism Research Institute, Janice has worked on several
research grants to study the efficacy of Dr. Shipon-Blums treatment
approach, the Social Communication Anxiety Therapy (S-CAT).
Bookkeeper and Accounts Payable
Bruce Mandes graduated from West Chester University and attended
advanced accounting classes at UCLA Extension Course in Los Angeles.
Originally from Willow Grove, PA, he lived in Los Angeles for over 20
years working in the accounting department for several entertainment
corporations such as Viacom, 20th Century Fox TV and Total Film Group.
Bruce has been with the SMart Center since 2008.
Sophie Blum is Dr. Shipon-Blums daughter who has overcome Selective
Mutism! Sophie is the inspiration for Dr. Es passion and interest in
Selective Mutism. Sophie works part time at the Smart Center,
specifically in the SMart Mart processing product orders. Sophie speaks
at local and national conferences on her experience overcoming Selective
Mutism. She has authored the new book, Unspoken Words. Sophie is a
senior in high school and plans on pursuing a career in medicine.
Evelyn Klein Ph.D, CCC/SLP
Speech/Language Services,Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Consultant
Evelyn Klein, PhD, CCC-SLP, BRS-CL is Associate Professor of Speech-Language-Hearing Science at La Salle University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She is a licensed and certified speech-language pathologist and licensed psychologist with post-doctoral training in neuropsychology. She is an ASHA Fellow and Board Recognized Specialist in Child Language, awarded from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Dr. Klein holds the Certificate of Clinical Competence from ASHA and Certification from Pennsylvania as a Supervisor of Special Education. Combining 20 years of expertise in the fields of communication disorders and psychology, her areas of specialization include selective mutism, autism spectrum disorders, developmental disabilities, language-learning disabilities, and acquired language disorders. Dr. Klein is the co-author of a new textbook, Acquired Language Disorders: A Case-Based Approach. She publishes in peer-reviewed journals and presents her work at local, national, and international conferences. Dr. Klein is a consultant with the Selective Mutism Research Institute, where she is a principal investigator studying assessment and treatment methods for children.
Sharon Armstrong, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, La Salle University, Consultant
Sharon Lee Armstrong, PhD, is Associate Professor of Psychology and Director of PsyD Research and Dissertations at La Salle University. She is also Associate Faculty Member at Rutgers University Center for Cognitive Science, Adjunct Scientist at Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute, and Principle Investigator at the Selective Mutism Research Institute. Her specializations within Cognitive Science are psycholinguistics, concepts/categorization, reasoning, and metacognition. Her research has investigated these topics in typical and special populations (e.g., children and adults with schizophrenia, ASD, selective mutism, ADHD, aphasia, depression). She is a member of the Psychonomic Society, APS, APA (Experimental Psychology Division), ADAA, and has been on the Executive Committee of the Society for Philosophy and Psychology. She is a consulting editor for The Journal of General Psychology.