Hannah’s parents began to notice that outside of the home, she was mute. After trying different treatment options, her family discovered the SMart Center. Hannah joined our CommuniCamp™ program and her progress since has been amazing! She recently presented a project for school about one of her favorite topics in front of others and is a member of her school’s choir and concert band groups. Hannah has even mentioned an interest she has in voice acting or performance!
Read more about Hannah’s SM journey below!
How old was your child when you first noticed she was mute in select settings?
3 years old
Please briefly summarize which settings your child was mute in.
My child was mute in all settings except for home. If anyone came over, she would be mute at home as well. She had one close friend she would whisper to as long as their parent wasn’t near by. She did not like attention called to her and would cry even if it was an award she earned.
Was your child in treatment for Selective Mutism, Social Anxiety, or related disorders before finding the SMart Center? If yes, where?
Yes. She was bounced around and released by many therapists who would eventually discharge her because “they didn’t know how to best help her”. As a last resort to try and help her I sought out the SMart Center after learning about you for a research project I did for graduation from a college counseling program myself.
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?
I located information about SMart Center while doing a paper for college. I obviously chose the topic because of my daughter. I knew I needed to take her to CommuniCamp™ as I couldn’t find any other “true help” for her. So many therapists discharged her saying, “she wasn’t ready” or “they didn’t know how to best help her”. S-CAT has been huge. We all needed a good foundation for how to help. The bridge was a big help for us. I had been trying to find a place to take her in the sister states surrounding us with no true help available. (Some day I would like to change that!)
What SMart Center services did you use? Select all that apply:
- CommuniCamp™ Intensive Group Treatment & Parent Training Program
- Follow Ups
How often do you consult with the SMart Center?
There has been one phone call since treatment and some emails.
What changes have you noticed? Please describe your child’s overall progress, including functioning in school, at home, with friends and teachers, and any changes you have seen since starting treatment.
Hannah is whispering to several students at school and church. She is talking to her teacher daily and can let her needs be known. She will pay for items at various cash registers and even place an order. She recently presented a project about horses for school in front of a dozen people. She is singing in the school choir and playing the flute in concerts at the school. She has now expressed an interest in doing voice overs or acting!! This is huge considering she would cry getting up in front of others prior to treatment at the SMart Center CommuniCamp.
What S-CAT® strategies helped the most?
Having Hannah pay for items and then easing her into placing her own order and paying. This or that options really helped her not to be overwhelmed. Praising once and moving on versus over praising and drawing huge attention to her. Preparing her for big events or social gatherings. Not asking her if she talked to anyone new today!
Do you have any “key” advice for parents going through it now?
Don’t give up! Use the strategies from the SMart Center. Always advocate for your child at school. Give your child a “this or that” option so they are not overwhelmed. Prepare them a head of time for social situations you will be attending. Don’t ask them everyday if they talked to someone new today. Connect with other parents of children with SM.
How is Hannah feeling now?
“Having Selective Mutism is very hard because people don’t understand why I don’t talk, when in my mind, I really want to. It feels good to enjoy activities with my friends and not always feel left out. Some day I hope to be able to talk to everyone and help others that have Selective Mutism so they don’t feel alone. It feels great when my brain let’s me speak!”