My daughter is 5 yrs old. how do you use rewards and encouragement without increasing the “pressure” to talk? where can I get more info on specific goals that I can modify for my daughter (no access to a psychologist)? thanks!


EXCELLENT QUESTION! This is brought up often. First and foremost all pressure to speak needs to be removed. No mention of speaking, no asking your child if she spoke in school and to whom. Forget the word ‘talk.’

What your daughter needs is a behavioral treatment plan individualized to her needs. This plan will include ways to help your child MAKE progress. When she does you praise her for her efforts! You never tell a child she will be rewarded for speaking until she is well on her way to overcoming her SM and CAN speak in a situation. There are many ways to reward without mentioning speaking. i.e., for each time she gives her order in McDonalds she gets a sticker or star, for each time she answers the phone, she gets a sticker etc. See, there is no mention of speaking. Just subtly praising her.

Also, remember that the treatment of SM is not to get a child to speak. The treatment is to lower anxiety, build self-esteem and increase confidence in social situations. When this occurs, verbalization will automatically follow. 🙂

Dr. Elisa Shipon-Blum