What is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)?
All children have worries from time to time, but a child with OCD struggles with obsessions and compulsions that prevent him or her from functioning on a day to day basis. This condition can cause a great deal of distress to the child, as well as to you, your family and others who are involved in your child's life.
Children with OCD have persistent and reoccurring thoughts, which could include something being wrong, dirty or harmful. Because they can't “get rid of” or stop thinking these things, they will engage in compulsive behaviour which could include things such as excessive hand washing, collecting “useless” items or engaging in ritualistic behaviour.
Some children who have been diagnosed with OCD may also have a related disorder such as ADHD or ASD and many children may struggle with associated problems such as depression, anxiety and challenging behaviour.
Helping your child with OCD
One of the most successful forms of treatment for OCD is through the use of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA). This form of therapy has been a very successful OCD treatment for children since it can be adapted to suit the needs of each child. ABA focuses on analysing the irrational thoughts (internal behaviour) behind the obsessions and implementing strategies to reduce the compulsions (external behaviour).
Our starting point is to spend time observing your child at home, school and in other settings, collecting information and detailed, observational data on your child. This enables us to identify the triggers behind the obsessive compulsive behaviours and to design a programme of interventions to tackle them.
What results will I see?
Some of the children we work with progress so dramatically that they no longer engage in compulsive behaviours and have successfully replaced them with new skills and healthy, appropriate behaviours. Whilst others may not experience such dramatic changes, the right intervention can enable your child to make great gains. Some of the results you can expect to see from your child’s programme include:
- Reducing obsessive thoughts, resulting in your child having the time to explore areas of interest and engage in activities that other children enjoy.
- Reducing compulsive behaviour, resulting in more appropriate play and social interactions.
Did you know?
OCD is often treated with medication, including anti-depressants, but obsessions and compulsions are behaviours and behaviour can be changed. Even the most severely affected child can reduce their obsessions and compulsions with the help of their parents and a trained professional.