My 5 year old daughter has sm. we have just recently sought the help of a psychologist in our area (St. Louis, MO). my question deals with the “symptoms” of sm. my daughter fits all the criteria–not speaking in any social situations, lasting more than 1 month, etc. after reading postings on the support group for about 3-4 weeks now, I’ve noticed a pattern with many of the children mentioned. many of these have other anxieties besides sm. is this normal? I haven’t noticed anything with my daughter except her lack of speech. she has never had separation anxiety and seems to be an overall happy child. do other anxieties develop along with sm that I’ve just not noticed? I know that sm is a social anxiety and just wondered if there were other signs that I may be missing. also, can you give me advice in dealing with a psychologist who does not have a lot of experience with sm. should I be feeding her my knowledge (from sm website) or would this be insulting? we have just started with her and I don’t want to do anything that might offend her.


Some children have other anxiety disorder symptoms along with SM ….while others have only the characteristics of SM.. HOWEVER:, if you look over the other characteristics that SM children have, many have behavioral issues at home, such as inflexibility, procrastination, perfectionism, stubbornness, etc…these behavioral symptoms are all a direct reflection of the inner anxiety they are feeling. As children get older, some of the behavioral symptoms start to dissipate, and more outward signs of anxiety start to emerge; such as frequent worries and concerns….. I find that when children are older than 6 years, the ‘worries’ start to become more evident. Also, as anxiety worsens, other anxiety disorder symptoms may emerge in some children while more pronounced SM symptoms emerge in others. What I am trying to say is, every child is different.

Regarding your psychologist that is uninformed about SM: If he/she is willing to learn about SM and the various therapies that work with SM children, and you are pleased with them, then there is no reason why you should not stay with this therapist. The relationship she/he has with your child is important as well, so if your child has connected to this professional, is making improvement and your therapist is learning about SM and instituting the therapies that work with SM children, then my recommendation is to stick with what is working!

Dr. Elisa Shipon-Blum