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Ocd ??

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Anyone still around whose kid has OCD?

I could use some btdt insight. I'm positive my son is showing some OCD and I don't know what to do / not do.
post #2 of 11
OT and the neuro (eeg and meds) really helped for a friend's child.
post #3 of 11
My DS (who also has Tourette's Syndrome and Asperger's) does not usually meet diagnostic criteria for OCD, but it's definitely something we have going on. I appreciated Tamar Chansky's books--Freeing Your Child from OCD and Freeing your child from Anxiety. What to do and what not to do depend so much on the child and on your philosophy of how to deal with certain things like this.

The things I try to do are 1) to not fight him over it and get angry when he tries to get me to do things a particular way or force him to do/stop doing something in the moment (I don't do so well at this) and 2) not get sucked into being a part of rituals--i.e. if he needs a certain response, I don't necessarily give it or I agree with the understanding that next time we will try to modify it in a way that will challenge the compulsion without freaking him out. If he demands that certain things be "done over" because they were done in the wrong order or there was an odd number of things, etc. I explain that it's not something I want to do and that he can do it himself if he wants. My son had a things where he wanted an ever-increasing number of spoons at meals--one to get it out of the container, another to stir the food on the bowl, another to eat with (and one spoon per food item, of course), etc. so I declared that he would have to get all extra food and plates himself. For my guy, that really diffuses things. What your son needs will really depend on his issues as well as the situations in which he best accepts a challenge. Daniel's obsessions and compulsions generally come on suddenly, so I sometimes remind him that while he feels like something is really critical now, he didn't feel the same way a month or two ago. So while he feels scared, it is not actually a dangerous thing or an bringer of bad things to have an odd number of chicken pieces on your plate rather than an even number of them.

Feel free to pm me, if you prefer,

post #4 of 11
I'm interested too. I've joked about Owen having OCD, but was never serious until his OT pointed out that he does have some signs of it and we should really look into it further. Teach me to joke about it We haven't looked into it any further, yet, but it's in the back of my mind for now.
post #5 of 11
Originally Posted by JohannasGarden View Post
My DS (who also has Tourette's Syndrome and Asperger's) does not usually meet diagnostic criteria for OCD, but it's definitely something we have going on.
This is so interesting, b/c this is where we are right now. Dd does go through periods of having obsessions or compulsions, but these phases don't seem to last long-I mean, it's not a constant thing, it's not like we'll know she's obsessing daily for months or her compulsions don't seem to last a long time or we don't notice them maybe. So, she never meets the diagnostic criteria for OCD. It's a thing that comes and goes-which kind of leaves us both relieved and confused (or perhaps we don't know what's going on inside her, so we can only say the outwardly visible compulsions or obsessions she tells us about seem to come and go). Your post was very helpful.

I think for us, the main thing is to *not panic* ourselves. It's so easy to get really frustrated or freaked out watching our child go through this, but staying calm is more helpful to her.

I will say that Tamar Chansky's Freeing Your Child From Anxiety has helped us a lot. Also, when dd had a very bad wiping/toileting compulsion thing going on (which caused every trip to the bathroom to take 20 agonizing minutes complete with meltdown), her psychologist worked with her to set up a sticker chart. Every time she asked for something to do after using the bathroom (something that required her to think about something else-counting backwards, spelling backwards, doing a chore, whatever), she got a sticker (so she got a sticker for each attempt at utilizing a coping skill). 3 stickers got her a treat (candy, activity, other--realistic and readily available) of some sort. She'd do the thing she asked to do, most of the time, which would help her move on from her compulsion. This approach very quickly brought that compulsion to an end.

post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your replies.
His seems to come and go too.

Right now he asks at night (and sometimes during the day too) for reassurance about fire. How was it fires start? Do we have those things in our house? You don't touch them, right? We won't have a fire, right? etc. usually near or actually in tears. I know for me OCD is about having to be certain so I'm trying not to answer in absolute ways. So that fire is unlikely here but if we did have a fire mommy and daddy would help him. I guess with another child I would just be 100% reassuring but with the OCD the reassuring just makes things worse, you know?

He is touching his wall before bed. I asked him why and he told me that it feels good and if he doesn't it feels bad. I tried to make it funny...oh, maybe if you touch it pizza will come out and he added a party would come down and seemed to enjoy that and it went away for awhile but it's back now. I suggested sometimes he try not to touch it to see that nothing bad would happen and he sometimes doesn't (as far as I know anyway) and other times he does. Before the fires it was buidings falling down/our house falling down.
Sherri, is that too involved on my part or something that will make it worse or make him hide things from me? I need to read that book this week-end.

I hate to see him struggle like this.

Magella, are you see a psych that works specifically with OCD? There is one that does childhood OCD (I'm not sure how young) about an hour from us. I'm wondering if it might be worth seeing her if she works with kids at 4.5 anyway. The sticker thing is interesting. I did CBT as a teen. One of the programs involved rewards for avoiding compulsions. It did seem to help me but it was a research program and I never knew the outcome.

Do you guys with experience think seeing someone would be helpful at this age or is it something I should read about and try to manage on my own for a while?
post #7 of 11

My DS has OCD

And after years of looking it turned out to be his primary diagnosis. He is six.

He works with an OT (we've been with her since DS was 3) and now an amazing LCSW who specializes in severe pediatric OCD. She is amazing. My son is one of the youngest clients she has had, though, and he is still slightly too young for full benefit. We took a month off and waited for him to ask to see her again (he asked this week) because in order for the CBT to really be effective, your child has to be able to cognitively understand the problem and how it affects his life and want it to change.

In the meantime, though, even when he is resisting her, she meets with DH and I and gives us great pointers as to how to deal with him. I had NO IDEA how much we were reinforcing the problem by accommodating his obsessions and rituals. Our parenting has changed dramatically since figuring out his diagnosis and working with this therapist, and DS is a million times happier than he ever was.
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Bookmama View Post
In the meantime, though, even when he is resisting her, she meets with DH and I and gives us great pointers as to how to deal with him. I had NO IDEA how much we were reinforcing the problem by accommodating his obsessions and rituals. Our parenting has changed dramatically since figuring out his diagnosis and working with this therapist, and DS is a million times happier than he ever was.
Bookma, so my son is too young then for help it sounds like. Do you think, though, that it might be helpful for us in knowing what to do and what not to do? The things I'm doing...wrong approaches you think at 4.5? I don't want to "feed" the OCD if you know what I mean but I want him to feel safe coming to me and not try to hide things.
post #9 of 11
I have seen children getting help quite early before 4 y o.
post #10 of 11

I would bet that your son is a tad young for the traditional cognitive behavioral therapy used, but there very well could be some earlier type things a therapist could do. I know our OT was instrumental before we got into our therapist because SD has a strong sensory component as well (it's all very "chicken and the egg," as you know!).

But, yes, I would wholeheartedly recommend meeting with someone or doing as much research as possible into what ways you might be feeding or not feeding the OCD. I think especially as very attachment based parents, DH and I were doing everything we could to make life more bearable for our child who was overwhelmed by the world. If he needed to bring a specific animal each time we got into the car, of course we let him. And then it was two animals. And then three. And before we knew it, we were all helping DS carry out this intense ritual of which animals to put where and when, depending on where we were going, and holding them just right while he used the bathroom three times before we left, etc. (things weren't this dramatic when he was 4.5, but they have gotten to that point). The main issue is that in the mind of a person with OCD, something terrible will happen if the ritual is not carried out. Every time we helped him carry out one of his rituals, it was absolutely reinforcing the fact that the ritual was needed, and that we were all keeping something horrible from happening. His therapist also helped us so that we didn't stop all accommodations cold turkey and make life horribly traumatic for him.

As for the obsessions, our therapist uses this great metaphor that there is a bug named O.C. Flea who likes to hang out in kid's brains and "trick" them. So we make it a game for DS to recognize when his thoughts are logical or when O.C. Flea is trying to trick him. If it is O.C. Flea (who else would tell you can't walk if your shoelaces don't hit the same exact spot on your shoe on either side?!), then we goof around with O.C. Flea and trick him back--boss him back if you will. He can be as horribly mean to that flea as he likes.

I feel like this is all over the place, but I've gotten so much help from this board for so many years and I finally feel like this is an area I could provide some help to someone else! Please feel free to pm me if you want to talk about this more. I do wish that we had realized sooner what we are dealing with, so I think you are lucky. I do have to say, though, that when we took DS in at 18 months because he was so out of control, I remember specifically asking the pediatrician, "Can a child this young have OCD?" And she sort of brushed it off. I know so many other things contribute and have the same symptoms in early childhood that it's hard to pin them down until later.
post #11 of 11
Rachelle, we've been working with a cognitive-behavioral oriented psychologist who is experienced in working with children with anxiety disorders and tics. The most helpful thing for us so far has been for dh and I to work with the psychologist ourselves, so that we can learn how to respond to the anxiety (and everything else going on with dd). We are the ones here with her all the time, and we can better help her if we learn about anxiety and how to respond. What a child learns in the psychologist's office one hour a week, imo, they don't just easily generalize to the rest of their lives. They need help all day, all week--and so I think parent education is extremely important, and at young ages it may be even more important than getting the child him/herself into the therapist's office (apart from initial evaluation). I wish we'd gone for help sooner, actually. I would definitely encourage you to consult someone now, for education and for support.

Also, we found that in between working with the first therapist (who didn't really work out) and the second (who is great), the book What To Do When You Worry Too Much: A Kids Guide To Overcoming Anxiety helped us learn how to work with dd's anxiety better. Between this book and the Freeing Your Child From Anxiety book we learned a lot about how to better respond to dd's anxiety. The same author (of What to Do When You Worry...) has a book called What To Do When Your Brain Gets Stuck: A Kids Guide to Overcoming OCD.

We're just now reaching a point where I'd like to see dd, now 9, in therapy herself. Unfortunately, she is dead set against it and it's difficult to force therapy on an unwilling kid who turns mute and sullen in the office (after refusing to go in and making a scene in the waiting room).
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