Written by Aimee, Jaeda’s Mom:
“Our daughter, Jaeda, had not been verbal from the time she was in preschool with any adults, including her own parents. She was only verbal with her two sisters, Ciara and Luna. Initially, we started speech therapy with a therapist who had no knowledge of Selective Mutism (SM). Jaeda went to regular speech therapy on a weekly basis, but the treatment wasn’t very effective, and she continued to be non-verbal.
We were desperate to find help for our child and searched, the internet until we found the SMart Center. It was then, at the age of six, that Jaeda was diagnosed with Selective Mutism (SM). As parents, we had not heard of SM. We did not know what it was.
We began [treatment with the SMart Center through] CommuniCamp™ and progressed to individual intensive therapy with Dr. E, which included follow-ups via [web-conference] and with her schoolteachers. Jaeda continued treatment for a few months with Dr. E until December 2018, which was her last time going to the SMart Center.
Because Jaeda was non-verbal from preschool until second grade, we were concerned for her as the new school year approached. On the first day of third grade, [her teacher], Mrs. Alameda, told us not to worry – she will become verbal. We were skeptical. By the third day of school, Jaeda was verbal with her new teacher and friends. We were so relieved when her third-grade teacher told us she was speaking aloud with her and the other students. It was one of the most amazing days ever!
We found the ambiance and atmosphere at the SMart Center fabulous. The compassion and support they show for children struggling with Selective Mutism is unbelievable. We can officially say our Jaeda is finally talking non-stop, even tattle tailing on her sisters. It’s a huge relief to finally hear her voice and see her talking comfortably. We would like to thank the SMart Center for helping us through this process.
As of now, Jaeda is a social butterfly. She speaks freely with all her friends and family, and doesn’t hesitate speaking with new people she meets. She can order her own meals at restaurants. She can talk on the phone with friends; she even still talks to one of her friends from the first CommuniCamp™ she attended at the SMart Center.
She continues going to Girl Scouts and is now in her school band. We are so very thankful for the SMart Center family; we will forever be grateful for all of the help they have given us. The SMart Center is the place where parents like us can feel at home and find comfort and peace with children like Jaeda. SMart Center will always have a piece of our hearts. Jaeda’s journey is a success story. We are definitely proud of our Shining Star!
Several parents from around the U.S. have called us asking about our experiences with the SMart Center. We let them know – there is hope out there. We have nothing but great things to say. YES, it does work! Lots of patience and consistency are the keys to a positive outcome.”
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 Jaeda’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 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©.