Our daughter is age six and was diagnosed three years ago. She started school this year. She has begun giving problems in class saying that she feels ill when she has to do writing exercises, and begins crying when pressured. I get the same problem at home when she has to do homework (often, as she doesn’t finish her work in school.) I can cope at home, but how is the teacher supposed to react to this type of behavior in class? Are there any detailed articles on common behavioral patterns amongst SM children other than not speaking?


Selectively Mute children, like all anxious children, often display behavioral manifestations of inner stress. Physical complaints, such as tummy aches and headaches are the number one complaint that children with anxiety complain about. These pains are very REAL and are often associated with anxiety provoking stimuli.

Your daughter is not completely secure with her abilities and is afraid to make a mistake. Perhaps she associates doing this work with a lot of question being asked by the teacher. There are a number of reasons why she may be feeling anxious doing her work. We hear this often. SM children are socially anxious (over 90% of the time). As a result they have various phobia’s associated with social phobia. Fear of ‘performance’ or fear of ‘making a mistake’ is very common about our lil’ SMer’s. I suggest doing lots of workbooks, and making her ‘homework’ seem more laid back and playful until you can work out a plan with your treating physician or therapist.

Dr. Elisa Shipon-Blum