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<p>My 7 year old is really bright - likely gifted though I never had him evaluated.</p>
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<p>He likes school especially maths and physics related stuff. Reading is not a huge interest to him and we never trained it at home, but when he started learning letters in school 18 months ago he picked up on the general idea really fast and is now reading several grades above his classmates.</p>
<p>He has complained to me - first time around 6 months ago - and now several times recently - that his brain keeps counting stuff. It can be edges of shapes or syllables of words, even though it bothers him and he doesn't like doing it. He says it goes away when he concentrates on something like maths or reading and he used the words "My brain just wants something difficult to do."</p>
<p>So far the explanation I have given him for this behaviour is that it is because when you have a good brain it needs to work and keep itself occupied. I believe this a large part of the explanation, but I am still worried.</p>
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<p>Ofcourse my first thought/fear was OCD but I read up on that and he doesnt have any other symptoms. He is overall functioning well. He has many friends, is good at listening and understanding things - stuff related to emotions too. He is generally considered a pleasent, polite and bright kid despite having quite a temper. He doesnt have any tics or other kinds of compulsive or obsessive behaviour.</p>
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<p>So all in all I am confused. What is going on? Is it as simple as his brain just needing constant input or it will make one itself? Is it common in gifted children? Anyone else experiencing something like it? Or should I worry and seek help?  How can I help him stop counting stuff without wanting to?</p>
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<p>Any and all inputs welcome. TIA</p>
 

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<p>Hi, I really have no knowledge about gifted children; but I remember being a young child and feeling like I had to count things. I remember people would say things like count sheep to make you go to sleep. For me, that would be the worst thing, as then I couldn't stop counting. I wanted to; but I felt some need to keep going.  I eventually out grew it and I don't feel the need to do that anymore.  I remember someone telling me that it sounded like OCD.  I really didn't have any other symptoms. Anyway, I do remember being annoyed when I would feel the need almost like a compulsion to count something - because I knew it would be hard to stop. </p>
 

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<p>I had forgotten that I do this, LOL. It's become so habitual that's it's faded into background "noise" for me as I go about my day. I've always had a need to count - number of stairs as I climb them, streetlights as I pass them etc. Even when I am reading a book, I count down pages and sometimes (if it's truly awful book), paragraphs on a page. I also notice patterns with geometry and colour when I'm out and about.</p>
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<p>I never thought of it as an obsession, but it didn't ever interfere with any other activities that I was doing. I'd say that if he finds it distracting, it's interfering with his normal activities, or that it's upsetting him, I might be inclined to seek some help. I'd probably look for a child psychologist or therapist with some experience with obsessive compulsive behaviour. Otherwise, I'd just continue to reassure him.  </p>
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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>ollyoxenfree</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1292022/my-7-year-old-counts-stuff-without-wanting-to#post_16192110"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p> </p>
<p>I had forgotten that I do this, LOL. It's become so habitual that's it's faded into background "noise" for me as I go about my day. I've always had a need to count - number of stairs as I climb them, streetlights as I pass them etc. Even when I am reading a book, I count down pages and sometimes (if it's truly awful book), paragraphs on a page. I also notice patterns with geometry and colour when I'm out and about.</p>
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<p>I never thought of it as an obsession, but <strong>it didn't ever interfere with any other activities that I was doing.</strong> I'd say that <strong>if he finds it distracting, it's interfering with his normal activities, or that it's upsetting him, I might be inclined to seek some help.</strong> I'd probably look for a child psychologist or therapist with some experience with obsessive compulsive behaviour. Otherwise, I'd just continue to reassure him.  </p>
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<p>This is key. It might be a variation on normal, or it might be something just beginning to develop. There is a purely obsessional form of OCD, which has none of the behaviors but is purely cognitive. I have a post in this forum on OCD in children - but I'm not yet savvy at using the search function & I have to head off to work. I'll get back to this later.<br>
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<p>I think there are many people who count things - myself included.  I think as long as it does not interfere in everyday life or enjoyment of life, it is fine.  In my case i like it - it keeps my mind busy.</p>
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<p>Ask him if the counting bothers him.  If it doesn't  - cool.  If it does try to figure out why.</p>
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<p>You know there are lots of things people can do to keep their brains busy...counting has got to be one of the safest, simplest, non destructive (in a school  setting) coping techniques for busy brained people.  I would not take this as a sign of lack of stimulation - everybody has restful periods and everybody needs to learn how cope with less cognitively stimulating periods.</p>
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<p>I noticed my child (4 years old )counting 1,2,3,4,5,6,etc  at the gas station the other day --while the pump was making noises as I was filling the tank-I also do this --I catch myself as I count and can stop .I do not count other things though-</p>
<p>I have not noticed my other kids doing it but do have an older son with some OCD tendancies.HHMM</p>
 

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I do this. Specifically, I count groups of 12. I've been doing it ever since I can remember. I've often suspected that I might fall loosely on the autistic spectrum; but I've always been able to function well so it never became an issue. I would continue to explain it as a busy mind needing something to do, unless it seemed to be interfering with normal daily activities.<br><br>
FWIW, when it starts to bug me, I've learned to lock it down. That's something I figured out all on my own, in adolescence, but if it really starts to upset him, a good therapist might be able to find ways to help him learn to stop. I wouldn't worry about it too much though, or go looking for help, unless it starts to really bother him.<br><br>
He may find things like logic puzzles or other pencil-and-paper puzzles to be a good outlet as he gets older, or even now-- I know I do.
 

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<p>i count too, but like the others said, i don't find that it interferes with anything. i notice it the most climbing long flights of stairs. all of a sudden i'll find myself thinking, "...21, 22, 23..." as i climb stairs. as an adult i tested myself a few times to see if i was actually counting or just ticking off numbers, and it was counting (yes, i went back and counted the stairs. i had to know!). if it bothers him i would worry a bit. i feel like these things can go as easily as they come in childhood, but won't certainly  go. so i'd be proactive and address it, knowing that it might also go away on its own.</p>
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<p>it's good that it goes away when he's concentrating on something else. if it's just something that happens when he's doing something mindless (like climbing stairs!), i'd certainly be less worried.</p>
 

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<p>I count too. I count while waiting. I'm intruiged by the PP who said they count sets of 12. Mine is 10 but I started that aroun age 20 to try to control the counting. Specifically I only know up to 10 in Irish Gaelic so if I have the urge to count & don't want to I make myself do that first & then go on to Russian, German etc. Apparently I must have been bothered by it at the time I started that. I'm not anymore and I don't remember being bothered by it as a child - except that as a PP mentioned, counting sheep was a surefire way to keep me awake. If I'm not waiting I'm more likely to look for patterns but waiting isn't just a long wait at the doctor's surgery, it's anything. Traffic lights for example or waiting for my DD to answer a question about whether she needs a drink of water or not.</p>
<p>FWIW, my results on the online Aspie test come up as likely receiving a diagnosis and I've often thought I was much more "spectrumy" as a child. Never sought diagnosis though, never needed to.</p>
 

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<p>This title caught my attention.  I have a daycare boy (four) that does this too.  He says he can't stop, but he wants to.  </p>
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<p>He will lie on his nap mat and look at the angles in the ceiling and count how many ways to bounce a superball off the angles.  He counts tiles, he counts steps from one room to another.. they have to be even steps, and end on an even number or he'll go back and do it over until it's "the good number".  </p>
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<p>I don't count, but I love patterns and am always looking for them and find "nice" patterns to be very diverting.  Could be anything from the dots on ceiling tiles to tile patterns to traffic flows. Seriously, thinking about perfect traffic patterns gives me warm fuzzy feelings.  Not particularly bothersome.</p>
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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>nextcommercial</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1292022/my-7-year-old-counts-stuff-without-wanting-to#post_16198852"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>This title caught my attention.  I have a daycare boy (four) that does this too.  He says he can't stop, but he wants to.  </p>
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<p>He will lie on his nap mat and look at the angles in the ceiling and count how many ways to bounce a superball off the angles.  He counts tiles, he counts steps from one room to another.. they have to be even steps, and end on an even number or he'll go back and do it over until it's "the good number".  </p>
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<p><br>
That bit about having to do it over again sounds rather OCD, to me.  Are his parents aware of this?  They must be?  This boy sounds like someone who needs help of some kind for a bothersome behavior.</p>
 

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How interesting! I have never "counted" like that, but as a child I did the <i>literary</i> equivalent. I would go through my day "narrating" what happened to me in my head, like a story. I couldn't seem to stop it, it just happened. Someone would be walking toward me and my mind would automatically say, "She walked toward me and smiled. I felt shy but I smiled back." I must have been six or so when I started doing this. It lasted for years. Funny: I haven't thought of it at all until now...
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>tinuviel_k</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1292022/my-7-year-old-counts-stuff-without-wanting-to#post_16200030"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br>
How interesting! I have never "counted" like that, but as a child I did the <i>literary</i> equivalent. I would go through my day "narrating" what happened to me in my head, like a story. I couldn't seem to stop it, it just happened. Someone would be walking toward me and my mind would automatically say, "She walked toward me and smiled. I felt shy but I smiled back." I must have been six or so when I started doing this. It lasted for years. Funny: I haven't thought of it at all until now...</div>
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<p>Oh, now I remember I did this too. Starting around the same age. I found it far more bothersome than counting and was quite glad to see the back of it.</p>
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<p>LOL about perfect traffic patterns. The city I grew up in had trams and a favourite drinking game as students was to sit in a hotel with a view of a tramline turning a corner and wait for the magical dance as two trams passed on the curve at the same speed. Quite a few people enjoyed that (or maybe it was just my strange friends?)<br>
 </p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Aufilia</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1292022/my-7-year-old-counts-stuff-without-wanting-to#post_16199993"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p> </p>
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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>nextcommercial</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1292022/my-7-year-old-counts-stuff-without-wanting-to#post_16198852"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>This title caught my attention.  I have a daycare boy (four) that does this too.  He says he can't stop, but he wants to.  </p>
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<p>He will lie on his nap mat and look at the angles in the ceiling and count how many ways to bounce a superball off the angles.  He counts tiles, he counts steps from one room to another.. they have to be even steps, and end on an even number or he'll go back and do it over until it's "the good number".  </p>
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<p><br>
That bit about having to do it over again sounds rather OCD, to me.  Are his parents aware of this?  They must be?  This boy sounds like someone who needs help of some kind for a bothersome behavior.</p>
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<p>Yes.  It makes them nervous.  They are waiting for him to be tested at the school.  (march) and they are in the process of getting health insurance.  It bothers them much more than it does me.  I can kind of ignore it, but they worry, and then get annoyed with him, and beg him to stop.   (they know he can't stop though)<br>
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<p>Could he possibly need to be challenged more at school (and perhaps at home)?  He sounds like a very special kid.  Maybe you could find him tasks that he could really put his mind too - puzzles with lots of pieces, elaborate paint-by-numbers, crosswords, soduko, etc.  I'm not a counter and haven't heard of this - but maybe otherwise engaging his brain with difficult and challenging tasks would set fulfill and satiate his brain?</p>
 

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<p>I started doing this as a child and was eventually diagnosed with OCD in high school when it got to the point that I couldn't stop doing it throughout the day and it was interfering with my school work and life.  I was on medication for it for almost 10 years, but discontinued that before I got pregnant with DD.  I have a little more control of it now, but it still drives me crazy sometimes. </p>
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<p>Does he have increased anxiety or anything as well?  That was part of why I think mine ended up being diagnosed as OCD was the anxiety component.  I couldn't stop counting, and attempting to made my anxiety sky rocket.  Yet, at the same time, counting makes me extremely anxious. </p>
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<p>I would chat with him more about how it makes him feel and let him know that if it's something that is really bothersome to him or makes him anxious or whatever that you are more than happy to try to get him some help with it.</p>
 
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