Meet Kaylee: Her Updated Journey
“We Have a Completely Different Child After Attending CommuniCamp!” An Update, Two Years Later
Read Kaylee’s original “Shining Star Success Story” here.
Kaylee and her family traveled from Wisconsin to attend the CommuniCamp™ Program in the Summer of 2017. This is their story:
“We noticed Kaylee wouldn’t talk when she was attending preschool at age three. She talked in other settings like daycare, family’s house, and home. When Kaylee was in 4K a co-worker friend mentioned Selective Mutism and it was our daughter completely but we decided to monitor it to see if she outgrew it. At that time she had never had spoken at school in two years (preschool and 4K) and then before kindergarten, stopped talking to daycare, friends, and family, and for a period of 14 months ONLY spoke to mom and dad all through kindergarten and the start of first grade. If spoken to by any stranger she would shut down, hide behind mom and dad, and often times cry. It was a very painful time when communicating was so uncomfortable for her.”
After no success or movement in the seven week of seeing a local therapist who specialized in Selective Mutism (but was not S-CAT® certified), Kaylee’s Mom decided to do her own research using the SMart Center’s website resources, webinars, and books. Mom then decided to attend CommuniCamp™ in the Summer of 2017 to boost success and for the extensive parent education sessions. At that time, it had been 13 months since Kaylee spoke to anyone beyond mom and dad.
After attending August 2017 CommuniCamp™, Kaylee was finally starting to communicate more than she ever had before. “Not long after she started speaking to her grandparents again, then her aunts, uncles, cousins, and a few friends.
- Christmas 2017 we were speaking to the entire extended family.
- February 2018 we “graduated” from our local therapist because Kaylee had made SO much progress! Everyday at school and everywhere she was communicating and speaking to more and more people. Ordering her own food, talking to the clerks at the store, and communicating with her doctors at appointments.
- March 2018 she was speaking to her entire first grade class and even participated in a class readers theater!
- Fall of 2018 she started second grade confident as ever and her teacher said that had she not know Kaylee prior to being in her class, she never would have known she had Selective Mutism. She raised her hand, spoke to anyone and everyone, and never slowed down!
This has continued into third grade and she still continues to be brave and do amazing things! Still blows my mind that just two years ago there were so few people she spoke to.” Kaylee, along with her mom and another friend and her mom, have even sang in a small group at church several times in the last year!
What S-CAT® strategies helped Kaylee and her family the most?
Kaylee’s Mom reports that “Our biggest takeaway for the ENTIRE family…mom, dad, and Kaylee…from CommuniCamp™ was that EVERYONE had to communicate their needs, but there are many ways to communicate along the [Social Communication Bridge®]. We started with baby steps on the Bridge® with outings at the store, or ordering food, and gradually moved into interviews with people that she knew. The interview technique we learned at CommuniCamp™, and we must have done easily well over 100, was our sweet spot and the thing that helped open the door for Kaylee with her friends, school staff, family, and more!”
What advice does Kaylee’s Mom have to other SM Families?
“First of all, work at it and use the S-CAT® strategies because they work…and the growth you see along the bridge is overwhelmingly amazing. Two years later I look back and think of how hard those times were and sit in amazement at how far we truly have come! Two years is not that long ago, but with hard work, commitment, and focus you can help your child! There is a light at the end of the tunnel, one for a long time I, Kaylee’s mom, didn’t think existed.”
What does Kaylee have to say about her progress since CommuniCamp™?
I am feeling more brave and confident now. I talk to anyone now and that makes me feel so happy that I can let out my words.
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 Kaylee’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©.