When Audrey was young, she was completely non-verbal in almost all settings. She struggled in school to participate and interact with peers. After Audrey’s teachers began to share her challenges in school with her parents, her family discovered the SMart Center. Through a 2-day Individualized Intensive, school consultation, and continued care, Audrey is now thriving and is verbal in all settings. She is currently a titleholder in the Miss America organization and uses her platform to share the importance of education and spread awareness about Selective Mutism!
Read more of Audrey’s SM journey below!
How old was your child when you first noticed he/she was mute in select settings?
2 to 3 years old.
Please briefly summarize where/when your child was mute/not mute.
Audrey struggled with speaking in several settings, especially when she was at school. She couldn’t participate in gym class, struggled to make relationships with her peers, and was known as “the quiet girl”. She also had a hard time around some of her distant family members, especially when they always expected her to talk.
Was your child in treatment for Selective Mutism, Social Anxiety, or related disorders before finding the SMart Center?
What brought you to seek treatment at the SMart Center? What makes S-CAT® treatment different from other methods you may have tried before finding the SMart Center, if any?
One day in school she went up in front of the entire class to read a poem and just completely froze. The teacher started getting upset with her and sent home an email about how defiant she was. We kept getting these emails and just knew that this was more than just shyness, so after a couple of Google searches we finally found the SMart Center. We loved the S-CAT treatment method and it allowed her to recover from her symptoms of Selective Mutism after about 1 year of treatment.
What SMart Center services did you use?
- S-CAT® Individualized Intensive Treatment Program (One- or Two-Day)
- Parent Training & Coaching
- School Consultation
- Follow Ups
- Medication Consultation
How often do/did you consult with the SMart Center?
Monthly for 6 months, and then quarterly for 1 year
What changes have you noticed?
Audrey isn’t just fully functioning, but she’s thriving. She’s now a titleholder in the Miss America Organization which she won by doing an interview in front of a judges panel, singing a solo onstage, and pulling a question out of a fishbowl to answer in front of an audience. She’s constantly going into the community to give speeches and using her voice to create change. It’s amazing to know where she was and where she is now. Audrey doesn’t have any issues in school or in any other setting anymore. We’re truly so thankful to the SMart Center for everything they’ve done for Audrey and for our family.
What S-CAT® strategies helped the most?
Doing interviews with teachers and answering questions in public helped her the most. She always had to order her own meals at restaurants, she’d have to find 3 random employees and ask each of them a question every time we’d go into stores, and she had to do interviews with teachers. Not only did this allow her to get used to social situations, but it helped her form very strong interview and communication skills that she now uses every day.
Do you have any “key” advice for parents going through it now?
Be patient and work on your treatment plan every chance that you get. As soon as Audrey found out that there was a diagnosis for what she was struggling with, she immediately felt empowered and motivated to fight through it. Every single time that we went into a store or a restaurant we had her talk to the employees, and we sought out every opportunity that we had to help her recover. I think that her motivation to recover and the amount of time she spent working on her treatment plan are really what allowed her to recover from her symptoms after a year of treatment.
If your child/teen is willing to share a brief sentence or two about he/she is feeling now, please enter it below.
“The SMart Center completely changed my life, and I’m truly so thankful for everything that they’ve done for me. I used to not even be able to raise my hand to answer a question in class, and now I’m constantly doing interviews and giving public speeches. The journey to get where I am now wasn’t easy and took a lot of work and dedication, but it was all so worth it in the end.”