Meet Olive

When Olive began pre-school, her parents noticed that she only spoke at home and with close family members and struggled to engage with her teachers and peers. That is when Olive’s family discovered the SMart Center! Olive began treatment by attending CommuniCamp™ and continued with school consultations and psychotherapy. Now, Olive has graduated from the SMart Center and is 100% communicative in all settings, including school!

Read more about how Olive overcame SM below!

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

3 years old.

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

We learned Olive was struggling with selective mutism when she started preschool at 3 years old. She was verbal in the home with close family members, but mute at school and having a hard time interacting with teachers and peers.

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?

Attending CommuniCamp and continuing our engagement with the SMart Center through therapy and school consultations was the best decision we ever made. Not only did Olive receive the one-on-one coaching she needed, our family and Olive’s teachers learned strategies to help Olive build confidence on the social communication bridge.

What SMart Center services did you use?

  • CommuniCamp™ Intensive Group Treatment & Parent Training Program
  • School Consultation
  • Psychotherapy
  • Podcast

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


What changes have you noticed?

Olive went from totally mute with teachers and peers to 100% communicative! She participates in class and has made friends in kindergarten. She is advocating for her needs and becoming more confident every day.

What S-CAT® strategies helped the most?

  • Facilitating repeated playdates with one or two peers outside of school allowed Olive to establish friendships in the classroom and build social comfort. Comfort precedes communication!
  • Intentionally taking Olive into the same stores and restaurants for repeated social exposures was so helpful. I would provide visual grocery lists or menu options since Olive was too young to read. She used these as cues to help bridge her up to verbalization with store clerks and servers and eventually didn’t need the visual aids. And when communication felt like too much, we practiced handover/takeover in these settings.

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

Try a bunch of strategies and see what works best for your child! We learned we have to keep goals fresh, exciting and fun for Olive to continue making progress.

Does your child have any advice for other children and teens with SM?

“When I was little I was afraid of talking, but I’m 5 now and my talking is much better.”