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Signs of OCD in a young child


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Hi all - could we have one place to put some of the signs and symptoms of OCD - since these can be easy to miss in a very young child? I'd love to have one post with just that topic, that I can reference parents to when they ask. I'll start the ball rolling (I likely have more, as we have been through it, but here are a few without looking back at my notes. I am just making a quick list - but if you want me to elaborate on the obsession/compulsion on these, I can add on. Many of these, taken alone, could be a different anxiety - but at least this could start the conversation?

 

* obsessive handwashing, due to fear of germs or stickiness or chemicals

* obsessive need to pee

* obsessively sure that all pee or poop is not out, or that they are not clean - often leading to a compulsion of obsessive wiping.

* need to confess "bad things" such as unkind behavior to another child

* feeling that they have cheated on tests or in school

* constantly asking for reassurance on the same/similar topic (ex: am I sick, will I get sick, did I do that)

* inability to make a previously simple decision for fear of consequences (sometimes logical, sometimes just a fear of it being a wrong decision).

* fear of germ or chemicals

* worry of choking on food - asking for food to be cut into small pieces

* inability to touch certain things, such as food, clothing or toys that were previously loved.

* repetitively touching certain things.

* brushing teeth for a long period of time

* inability to eat certain foods previously liked.

* worry about being "bad"

* repetitively saying certain things, or asking others to say things in specific ways, tones, etc.

* lining up things such as toys or pencils.

* repeating sounds others make, especially a cough or a sneeze

* spitting germs

* inability to put hands in certain positions

* retracing steps

* going in and back out of doorways

* turning light switches on and off

* worrying about on of their actions causing harm to another

* hoarding odd things such as tissue, paper, empty juice boxes

* inability to seperate from a parent or authority figure

* concern about weather or robbers - accompanied by a ritual such as a repetitive thoughts or magical thought

* obsessive magical thinking

* obsessive concern about throwing up

* avoidance of certain places or people or things previously enjoyed, such as restaurants, birthday parties

* inability to touch other children when playing age appropriate games.

* counting toys

* insistence on a certain order of events (such as reading certain books in only a certain order)

* checking doors to make sure they are locked

* putting together sets of items

* constantly changing mind- fear of wrong decision

* Fixation on a certain number - such as needing to do, repeat, touch something 7 times.

* Fixation on a certain number as being bad - such as being unable to read anything with the number 7 on it (such as page 7, the 7th sentance, etc.

* needing a parent to say certain things an amount of times before a task is complete

* Perfectionism - often seen in erasing work until the paper rips

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Great post! And great list!

 

I will first add that sometimes the signs aren't as noticeable and Dr. L told me the child can just come across anxious and fidgety and then might throw something across the room. This is typical of my child who also has some communication issues.

 

* counting toys

* insistence on a certain order of events (such as reading certain books in only a certain order)

* checking doors to make sure they are locked

* putting together sets of items

* constantly changing mind- fear of wrong decision

 

Also, I would add that a lot of these things are also normal at times. It is when they become obsessive that it is a problem.

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Great post! And great list!

 

I will first add that sometimes the signs aren't as noticeable and Dr. L told me the child can just come across anxious and fidgety and then might throw something across the room. This is typical of my child who also has some communication issues.

 

* counting toys

* insistence on a certain order of events (such as reading certain books in only a certain order)

* checking doors to make sure they are locked

* putting together sets of items

* constantly changing mind- fear of wrong decision

 

Also, I would add that a lot of these things are also normal at times. It is when they become obsessive that it is a problem.

 

How about if I edit the original post to say here are a few examples of the difference between normal development and OCD: that washing hands once after using the restroom or before eating is normal. A young child that is washing 20 times a day or until hands are cracked and red may have OCD. A child that asks a few times if a meal will make them ill is fine. A child that asks for this same reassurance 20+ times a day for multiple days should be evaluated. A child that lines up their toys may just like order. A child that lines up toys and cannot leave until it is complete or has massive anxiety if they are disturbed - should be evaluated.

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Meg, is refusal to brush teeth or shower or change clothes from OCD?

 

What about constant talk of death, sticking fingers down their throat until they gag, pulling out hair, upset that you can't stop blinking or breathing and trying to stop. These are somethings dd8 did as a young child when I believe she first got PANDAS and I don't know where they fall into the OCD categories.

 

Also, what about asking permission? My dd even now asks permission to close her eyes to go to sleep. She can't fall asleep unless I tell her it's OK to close her eyes and she asks permission to do things like go to the bathroom, things that she should be able to just run and do at home.

 

Super great thread idea, thank you!

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Megs mom- Can you elaborate on "inability to eat foods previously liked"- this is a big one here. With first pandas episode, dd all of a sudden would not eat any of her usual staples. She just said (or rather yelled) that she did not like the food- it didn't taste good. She only got back to eating a more varied diet post pex- although has limited a bit since the flu. It isn't the fear of choking. Any thoughts?

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Also..

 

nosepicking (compulsively, especially at bedtime for us)

apologising

magical thinking.. if I think it, it will happen... calling brother a furball then worrying that he will become a furball

 

during our 1st noticed episode every safety message we'd ever sent turned into a crippling fear eg never put plastic bags over your head became a terrifying fear of anything plastic touching her face, not wanting to go near plug sockets, worrying that bath water will be too hot.

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Yeh, we have the food one.. just went off her previous favorites. She can't tell me why exactly, just says they don't taste good anymore or, more usually, the texture seems funny to her now. Now I think of it, that is one "symptom" that hasn't left us even when all others have. Perhaps it becomes habit/learnt?

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These may not be direct symptoms, but more red flags...

 

-If they all of a sudden ask you to wipe them in the bathroom when they have been self sufficient for awhile.

-Having to go to the bathroom more. My son knew we were aware of obsessive hand washing, so he went to the bathroom more often knowing he would HAVE to wash his hands afterwards.

-Saying goodnight has to be done a very specific way. If you vary it, the anxiety rises and they need you to start over

-Adversion to glue, glitter, etc. This could be sensoory or OCD

-Pushing chair in until it is just right, then making sure the chair is "even'. Sit, fix chair. Look left, look right. Make sure

it's even

-Breathing off to the side.

-Having to get their own utensils. Keeping utensils separate from others

-Obsession with a certain color

-If someone in the family gets hurt, they need reassurance over and over it will not happen to them

-Fussing with plate until just right. He'd turn and twist it until it was the way he needed it to be

-Walking with closed fists

-Wiping hands on pants over and over after toouhing something.

-Needing to spin or shake after doing something like passing a specific person or a certain room

-Needs to get their own food

-Needs to eat self conatined foods like cheese in a wrapper, applesauce from a single serve container

 

I am so sad all of these came from personal experience and if I rack my brains more, I'll think of more:(

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Megs mom- Can you elaborate on "inability to eat foods previously liked"- this is a big one here. With first pandas episode, dd all of a sudden would not eat any of her usual staples. She just said (or rather yelled) that she did not like the food- it didn't taste good. She only got back to eating a more varied diet post pex- although has limited a bit since the flu. It isn't the fear of choking. Any thoughts?

 

My 7 yr old eliminates all her food during an episode. She says she loses her taste buds.

 

She also wants her food fixed exactly the same way each time or she does not want it. She asks me to make it the way she likes it. I often tell her I'm a human, not a robot but I will do my best, LOL.

 

Susan

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Quote from Vickie- "You have to repeat back what the child says because they need to make sure you heard them"

 

This seems to be a biggie for our 2 year old... only realised what it was when it came back after a steroid burst.

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