Read Mia's Story
Mia came to The Baker Center as a three-year-old when her parents were concerned about her development and concerning behaviors. Some children are shy and wary of strangers, but Mia could not talk to anyone but her parents. She even relied on her little brother to help her communicate. Mia’s parents were very worried about her, but many of their close family and friends told them that Mia was just being a shy toddler going through a phase.
But Mia’s inability to speak to others was more than just a “shy phase”. Her difficulties persisted and worsened over time. Mia’s anxiety would lead her to shut down and not vocalize her thoughts or feelings. “She was anxious about being with her friends and our family. She was even afraid to go outside,” said Mia’s mother, Annie. “It was heartbreaking to see her struggle.”
Mia’s pediatrician recommended that her parents contact the Center for Effective Therapy at The Baker Center to get Mia evaluated and the help she needed. Mia was diagnosed with selective mutism, a condition that is usually tied to deep anxiety and fear of embarrassment. As part of her treatment, Mia met weekly with Dr. Sarah Tannenbaum. “Right from the start, Dr. Sarah knew how to make Mia feel comfortable,” said Annie. “She also had this special ability to make Mia laugh and smile. We looked forward to seeing her every week.”
Mia and her parents participated in a special evidence-based treatment offered at the Baker Center called Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT). PCIT allows parents to interact directly with their child while receiving instruction and guidance from a trained therapist in real-time. Parents learn strategies and skills to support their child and address the concerning behaviors. “We learned great tools, including how to use play and gentle coaching to help Mia whenever her anxiety is taking over,” shared Mia’s dad, James.
After a period of successful treatment, Mia was able to get back on track and cope with her anxiety. “Mia is once again a happy child. She now shows confidence, has overcome her crippling shyness and is passionate about hip-hop dancing,” shared Annie. “To our delight, she recently performed in two dance recitals in front of large audiences.”
Mia and her family are grateful to Dr. Sarah and The Baker Center for giving Mia her voice to speak and the confidence to succeed. Mia has found the strength to know she can accomplish anything she puts her mind to.
The future of children struggling with mental health challenges is in our hands. With your support, we can continue to help families like Mia’s overcome obstacles and reach healthy outcomes. Our evidence-based practices and programs yield meaningful results that help children get back on track and provide parents with the support they need.
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*Names have been changed for privacy