What does SM have to do with my 5 and a half year old not wanting to go to the bathroom in school. She holds it in all day and refuses to go. She use to only go in her own home then slowly the aunts and grandparents. Now she will go in a diner or Burger King but school no way. What is this all about? Also she talks to kids during play time in school just not the adults. She is in Special Ed because of this. Do u feel children with sm should be in special Ed so they get the attention that they need in the smaller classroom even though their academic level is good?


First off, I am completely against special Ed or labeling of ’emotionally disturbed’ for Selectively Mute children, unless there are other major issues going on with the child. Shuffling our kids into special classes and giving them ‘labels’ is a sure fire way to put them on the wrong course for success. I am adamant about this! Schools do this simply because they do not know how to properly manage the SM child…We are trying desperately to change this. The school personnel at your child’s school need to be informed that SM is an anxiety disorder that needs to be tackled from that perspective. Once it is seen and dealt with from an anxiety standpoint, our kids usually do quite well in the regular classroom.

Regarding ‘not going to the bathroom in school,’ this is actually quite common! SM kids have difficulty ‘initiating’ so going up to the teacher can be impossible for some SM kids… Some hints would be to have signs she can use with notes pre-written, direct access to the bathroom so she can ‘just go.’ There are some kids that no matter what tactics u use will still ‘not go.’ This usually changes as they get older and realize that ‘accidents’ are not looked at favorably by teachers and peers….and are incredibly embarrassing. There are also kids, that DO hold it all day, and no matter what you do, they will always do just that.

Dr. Elisa Shipon-Blum