Sasha had always been verbal at home and with people in her life, so it was a shock to her parents when they heard that Sasha hadn’t spoken for the first three months of pre-school. Sasha was completely mute at school for the next two years. After trying other treatment centers, Sasha’s family discovered the SMart Center and felt the outlook of the center matched what they were looking for. After joining CommuniCamp™ and actively participating in the SMart Center’s post-camp follow-ups, Sasha has flourished and is fully verbal in school.
Read more about Sasha’s SM journey below!
How old was Sasha when you first noticed she was mute in select settings?
2-3 years old.
Please briefly summarize which settings Sasha was mute in.
Sasha has been always verbal at home and with certain individuals but it wasn’t until her teacher reached out to us back in preschool telling us that Sasha was not speaking in class. This blew us away. She continued to be mute in school for the next two years and was even mute with certain individuals, as well.
Was Sasha in treatment for Selective Mutism, Social Anxiety, or related disorders before you found the SMart Center?
Yes, she was at a center in New York that specializes in Selective Mutism.
What brought you to seek treatment for Sasha at the SMart Center? What makes S-CAT® different from other methods you may have tried before finding the SMart Center, if any?
We felt after some time the techniques that were taught at the center in New York was just not working for our daughter. Initially it did but then at a certain point she regressed and they felt she might need to go on medication. We did not want to do that given her age. So, we decided to look elsewhere. We found the SMart Center and we loved the philosophy and Dr. E’s personal story and journey with her own daughter. It made it very relatable.
Which SMart Center services did you use for Sasha?
CommuniCamp™ Intensive Group Treatment & Parent Training Program, school consultation, and follow ups.
How often do you consult with the SMart Center now?
What changes have you noticed in Sasha? Please describe her overall progress, including functioning in school, at home, with friends and teachers, and any changes you have seen since she’s started treatment.
Sasha is completely verbal in school now with everyone- she even goes to the bathroom which initially she did not do. She is more verbal with certain family members and friends than before but that is something we are still working on. We realized that she just needs time. Once she feels comfortable (in a social setting), she opens up. She also loves to play games and we do that all the time with family and friends. This puts her at ease and allows her to feel excited and comfortable to the point that she forgets about being scared to talk.
We also use CBD oil as part of her medicine – we have found that it lessens her anxiety which helps her move forward and allows her to work through challenges and just be ok with certain situations when things get stressful.
Which S-CAT® strategies helped her the most?
The Social Communication Bridge ® has helped us, especially the intermediate – which during Covid my husband (served as) that intermediary to bridge comfort from Sasha to other students and teachers when school was remote. And CommuniCamp™, we really enjoyed it and so did she! I think for her and for us to see that we are not alone in this was important. It provided a sense of relief and being ok with who you are and your situation.
Do you have any “key” advice for anyone with a child battling Selective Mutism now?
I think the big one is to be patient and not give up even when you think it is hopeless. There is always hope. Having support and being an advocate for your child is so important in this process. You will have those that push back, but keep pushing forward. And don’t forget to have fun and not let selective mutism run your life. Live your life!
How is Sasha feeling now?
Sasha says she feels more confident and very happy that she is now speaking in school.