At around 7-years-old, Carlee was mute with unfamiliar adults (such as doctors and dentists) and children. In school she had a few friends but was unable to speak to most teachers and classmates. By 4th grade, she started to become mute with familiar family and friends she used to talk to, and by 6th grade she regressed to only speaking to her immediate family. She was never able to talk on the phone or in stores and restaurants.

Through the SMart Center’s Individualized Intensive Program, Follow-Up Consultations via web-conference, and School Consultations, Carlee’s mom describes her as “a totally different child now who has blossomed into a beautiful young woman with so much more confidence and has several friends now who just adore her.”

Carlee’s mom reports that recently “Carlee was able to audition for choir singing a solo in front of senior students and the teacher! She is able now to carry on lengthy conversations with her dentists, doctors, and therapists and usually ‘wows’ them. She was away from home for two weeks with no issues and had a blast! She can now use a phone calling others and answering when others call her. She is usually the loudest in the group now and tries harder to get to know those she doesn’t know very well. Carlee also just got her drivers permit and talked easily with the person helping her get her picture and examine her eyes.”

Dr. E’s Ritual Sound Approach® (RSA), a.k.a. “The Missing Link” in most other treatment approaches for SM, helped Carlee progress the most in the beginning and at times she had trouble becoming verbal on her own. Carlee’s mom’s key advice for parents going through it now is: “Use everyday errands as a chance to do exposure practice. The more opportunities your child has to practice the quicker they will progress.”

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 Individualized Intensives and CommuniCamp. 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©.