When Mazie was three years old she was mute everywhere except for in her home. Mazie’s mom explains that whenever company was over at the house or if Mazie was in the presence of anyone other than her immediate family, she was mute. Initially her family sought treatment that was geared towards more generalized social anxiety, not addressing the very specific diagnosis of Selective Mutism.
After seeking treatment at the SMart Center, through our Individualized Intensive Program, CommuniCamp™ Intensive Group Treatment & Parent Training Program, and Follow-Up Consultations, Mazie’s mom explains that Mazie is a “completely different person than she was a year ago! She is fully verbal in all settings now, whether they are new to her or not or whether she has met the people before or not. She is also happier and more confident at home too, so even her home behavior where she was not mute, has changed for the better significantly.”
What does Mazie have to say now that she has crossed the bridge? “Talking isn’t as scary as it was before.”
Mazie’s mom explains that the first major S-CAT® strategy she implemented was taking the pressure off Mazie to speak. Following treatment, Mazie’s mom explains that the S-CAT® strategies that helped with Mazie’s progress were the Scavenger Hunt, Big 5, and conducting interviews with family members. She explains that it was “really the basics and the accountability of keeping track of the time Mazie did these various strategies.”
For parents going through it now, Mazie’s mom suggests:
“Don’t give up and do the work at home that [your SMart Center clinician] tells you to do. You must implement the tools and tactics as time-consuming as that can be it really does work in the end! I really thought nothing was working and it was getting tiring and frustrating and things started clicking and once they started clicking, they improved so much and so quickly. Be very patient with yourself, not just your child.”
If you are considering enrolling your family in an upcoming CommuniCamp™ Intensive Group Treatment & Parent Training Program with the SMart Center and would like to speak with Mazie’s mom about her experience, please email CommuniCamp@SelectiveMutismCenter.org so we can connect you!
To effectively overcome Selective Mutism and all anxieties, an individual needs to be involved in a treatment program, such as those rooted in evidenced-based Social Communication Anxiety Treatment® (S-CAT®), like our Individualized Intensive Treatment Program and CommuniCamp™ Intensive Group Treatment & Parent Training Program. Developed by Dr. Elisa Shipon-Blum, this holistic or “whole-person” treatment approach is designed to reduce anxiety, build self-esteem, increase social comfort and communication in all settings.
As a physician, Dr. Elisa Shipon-Blum (“Dr. E”) views SM as a social communication anxiety where mutism is merely a symptom. The key to an effective treatment plan is understanding factors that contribute to the development and maintenance of SM as well as understanding a child’s baseline stage of social communication on the Social Communication Bridge®. Then, working as a team, the treatment professional, parents, and school staff members help the child build coping skills to combat anxious feelings and to progress across the Social Communication Bridge©.