Meet Kaleigh

Kaleigh was 4 when her parents noticed she was reserved in most settings outside of the home. One preschool began, they realized she wasn’t verbal at all in school. Through their school, Kaleigh’s family discovered the SMart Center and participated in both our individualized intensive and group CommuniCamp™ programs. Now, Kaleigh has made amazing progress and feels more comfortable making friends and speaking with teachers at school!

Read more about Kaleigh’s SM journey below!

How old was your child when you first noticed he/she was mute in select settings?

4 years old.

Please briefly summarize where/when your child was mute/not mute.

Kaleigh was “shy” in most places except home. We did not notice it as a big issue until she started preschool when she was 4. She would participate and play but was never verbal.

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?

We discovered the SMart Center when Kaleigh’s preschool teacher gave us paperwork about it. She had discussed it with a play therapist who suggested the SMart Center. She said if it really was SM she would not be able to help and to call the SMart Center.

What SMart Center services did you use? 

  • S-CAT® Individualized Intensive Treatment Program (One- or Two-Day)
  • CommuniCamp™ Intensive Group Treatment & Parent Training Program
  • School Consultation
  • Follow Ups
  • Medication Consultation

How often do/did you consult with the SMart Center?

Once a month with Jen and as recommended with Dr E for medication checks.

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.

Kaleigh improved very slow and steady. We got to a point where it seemed she had plateaued. After roughly 3 years and with Jennifer’s consultation we decided medication may be indicated. This was her missing link. Gradually, the anxiety was controlled and she was able to do the strategies and see herself succeeding . She became a completely different person in school and in public.

What S-CAT® strategies helped the most?

All of the S-CAT strategies have been beneficial for us. The ones we started with in the beginning, such as the waving game, would become less crucial and then we would be working on new strategies. Frontline and Hand over Take Over have become a way of life. They all have a purpose.

Do you have any “key” advice for parents going through it now?

Seek an SM specialist, trust the approach and implement the strategies frequently. Don’t be afraid to consider medication. Dr E’s approach is very conservative and specific to each child.

If your child/teen is willing to share a brief sentence or two about he/she is feeling now, please enter it below.

“Hi I’m Kaleigh. I’m 10 years old and love dogs. I have improved a lot with speaking. And now I can speak to so many people and teachers! I also have many more friends than when I didn’t speak to a lot of people. I hope you can get through it too and make new friends. Have a good day!”