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ERP suggestions - ?

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so yet again -- i'm up for mother of the year for yelling at ds when i know it's not his fault. . . anyway -- he's doing quite well and this is relatively mild compared to in the past but something i think we should deal with.


i believe he has an OCD issue with doing things at the same time as his brother in an effort to keep his brother safe. from what, i am not sure, but some sort of harm. a year ago, this was intense with tantrums in the morning about getting dressed at the same time -- i'm talking exact, such as putting legs into pants at precisely the same time. i had wondered if it's a type of separation anxiety but i really think it's some OCD control. it's has also in the past taken the form of going to the bathroom at the same time. about a year ago, he'd delay coming to dinner and then freak out that no one start without him. i think it's all related.


presently, he needs to have brother wait to start eating lunch. he will yell and freak out about it. an unskilled eye watching it would think it was bratty controlling behavior just to be in charge. someone who knows OCD would know it's OCD controlling behavior. he may just politiely ask brother to wait for him to finish in the bathroom and then come to lunch. it becomes problematic if he doesn't come to lunch at same time as brother and then he freaks that brother has to wait to eat. today, i asked about reasons vs. no reasons, keeping him safe vs. just because. he said it is to keep him safe but from what is "a secret". he doesn't do it with me b/c i don't start eating before him. if i did, he'd have to have me wait.


we have done ERP-like for some other issues with success but he is a not so willing participant. i devise steps and he complies with the step of the day. he doesn't want to think about or hear any farther reaching ideas than that one action. rewards don't work to induce participation -- they are just a happy sidenote. i'm thinking i should start something like having him sit with me for 30 seconds while brother begins and increase the time of brother beginning without him.


ideas or thoughts? thanks!

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Ouch! This is a really tough one!


Similar to your idea about preventing "co-eating," first by delaying 30 seconds, and gradually increasing the time . . . it might be easier to do it by "bites," yah? Then neither you nor DS has to be a clock-watcher, on top of everything else. And you could start with one bite and expand from there, maybe?


It might work for the getting dressed thing, too. Brother gets to put on one sock first, or after he does, gradually expanding to include both socks, both legs of the pants, etc.


If rewards don't really incentivize him, would the mere LACK of the manifestation of any of the consequences he so fears, encourage him? If you point out to him at each and every exposure experience that, "See, Brother's safe. The OCD can only make you FEAR not being safe; it can't actually PUT someone in danger. It doesn't have that power 'cause YOU'RE the boss of IT. IT isn't the boss of YOU or Brother."


Not a revolutionary suggestion, I know.

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We've had similar things here. He couldn't eat until everyone else was sitting in their "assigned seats" and for a while I had to be in the room with him and sit on the bed while he picked out clothes and got dressed. It becomes really hard when a sibling in then brought into the mix.


Like yours, rewards didn't work. I couldn't give any praise either. I never shared any long term goals with him, just the baby steps like you said. I gave a day in advance warning that it was the last time he would do that tendency. A couple times he even asked me to take a picture of him doing it since it was his last time. Then the next day, what I said was what we started. When I saw he no longer needed reminders not to do it and anxiety was at a low, he would receive another heads up what we would tackle next. I did major baby steps.


With lunch...so your son needs to being eating before the brother and then the brother needs to wait longer?

Edited by Vickie
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oh mom - you are so wise. we've had trouble with time before so it is not a good counter for us -- 'things' are much better. why didn't i remember that? thank you.


on friday, we did one bite for breakfast. quite a bit of crying. at lunch, we did two bites -- much crying, was mad at me all lunch. but, there was much crying before so at least this is crying with a purpose. unfortunately, the weekend is a different schedule -- basketball, lunch out etc. -- so it didn't really apply. monday, he "allowed" one bite. then visit to nana's -- again, different schedule. today, wasn't even an issue. brother came to breakfast and started eating before. ds didn't even care. we'll see what lunch has in store.


had dr visit on monday. seems CMV is active again. this issue hasn't been strong again until last week. wonder if it was that showing. guess we'll see what treatment shows.


thanks for the tips -- always good to have something handy in the tool belt!!


vickie -- it's that pandas son needs to begin eating at same time as brother -- after first bite, there's not a problem.

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we've had trouble with time before so it is not a good counter for us -- 'things' are much better.


Glad to hear it's going better these days!


Not to hijack the thread, but I wonder if "trouble with time" isn't a bigger OCD/PANDAS culprit than many of us realized before. We've been through periods where Time has literally been Enemy No. 1. There's never enough of it, don't you know the clock is supposed to stand still when DS loses himself in OCD thoughts or compulsions, DS needs five times as much of it as a "regular" kid to get through certain tasks, but then again it passes way too slowly when he's being asked to await something . . . . on and on and on! We've tried digital timers, egg timers, "click, click, ding" timers, verbal reminders, incentives, consequences, you name it. DS more or less perpetually feels like he's at the mercy of Time, and he has next to no say in it!


Thankfully, when he's feeling better, alot of that gets ameliorated. He moves faster, time doesn't get away from him as readily, he actually finds he occasionally has some Free Time, even on a school day, etc.


Still, I've suggested to him more than once that, with that gigantic science/math mind of his, perhaps his next science project should be a time machine so he could finally, once and for all, control It! :P

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