This is for my friend Jim, who asked me to write a blog about the signs of OCD in children. Jim runs a daycare center, and is always searching for knowledge regarding the children that are placed in his care.
Children often spend more time with their teachers or caregivers then with their parents during typical weekdays. I agree with you Jim, it is important for everyone to look for signs of OCD in kids.
FOR PARENTS, CARE GIVERS, AND TEACHERS- SIGNS OF OCD
According to my own personal experiences, I have compiled a list of possible early warning signs of OCD in children:
• A child with red and cracked hands, which could mean excessive hand-washing rituals.
• Spending too much time in the bathroom, which may mean he is performing showering or grooming rituals.
• Constantly re-writing or erasing while doing assignments. OCD will cause some children to take a long time to complete their homework due to checking or repeating rituals.
• Constantly insisting that certain activities, such as your washing their clothes, are done in a specific way. This behavior could mean that they are enlisting you to perform their rituals.
• Repeating normal actions often, such as combing hair or brushing teeth, could indicate repeating rituals.
• Asking parents or friends to say certain words, or not to say them, may mean they are obeying mental INTRUSIVE THOUGHTS, which compel them to ask you these things.
• Always entering or leaving rooms in a specific way, which may indicate ritualizing.
• Excessive clutter or an accumulation of useless objects that your child will not dispose of may mean hoarding problems.
• Excessive neatness and having to have possessions in perfect order may be due to ordering compulsions.
• Counting while performing activities can be due to counting rituals.
• Constant preoccupation may be due to obsessional thinking.
• Praying for long periods, or in a certain order, or sacrificing things may be indicators of scrupulosity.
• Avoidance of certain objects or people may mean contamination issues.
• Constant asking for reassurance or asking if they are loved, may be rituals.
• Taking an unusual amount of time to move may mean mental rituals.
• Increased activity before bedtime may mean having to complete rituals before sleep, or constant early rising may also be a sign that your child is compelled to ritualize before school.
• Depression or winter depression that is accompanied by any other symptoms of OCD means your child needs help.
These are not all of the signs of OCD. Like in adults, the behaviors may encompass an infinite variety of actions. However, being aware of these signs may save a child from a lifetime of suffering.