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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder


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I have a 4 year old child at pre-school that I think may have this disorder. Very obsessional about certain things e.g. pulling up socks,fussing over clothing, lunch box has to be put certain way up. We are trying to develop her concentration skills it has been hard work but she is improving although she always has to touch and fiddle with the person sitting next to her. She very often wets herself in the toilet area I do wonder if she is delaying using the toilet because she spend so long adjusting her clothing after. We offer to help her but she gets very frustrated because we are not doing it correctly.

I had a word with her mum today and she is at her wits end knowing what to do with her.She has mentioned to me a few times about how fussy she is about what she wears and apparantly she constantly talks about what all the other children wear and their hairstyles. She only eats at pre-school .My immediate reaction was let her choose her own clothes. I do remember when she first came she wore a "fairy dress" all the time. This wasn't a problem for us. The child always comments on what she is wearing and on what I am wearing. I have tried to get information on the web about OCD it only refers to children older than 4. I just need some advice on this.before I contact the area SENCO or am jumping to conclusions about her behaviour.

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What is family life situation? Is everything settled, secure and safe at home? Does she never eat at home? (We had a child last year who would not eat or drink at home, just atpre-school, but once the mum instituted "family meal times" at home, this changed - luckily for everyone because we only run 4 mornings a week).

 

Are there siblings? If so, how do these fit in?

 

If the little girl is 4 (and not with you full time) she should by now have a little social circle outside the setting. If not, why not? Do the parents need some support?

 

Diane.

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hi

get her some help if you're at all concerned.

It could wear itself out naturally but if not the sooner the processes begin the better!

 

How about family? has mum asked her GP or HV about this? they should be able to support too.

 

Susan

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How are her social relationships? Does she interact appropriately for her age with others? Is she obsessional about where she puts things, collecting things etc? If this is so and affects other areas of her life I would definately call in the SENCO for thier opinion.

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Not sure I can be of much help here, but a close relative suffers with OCD so you certainly have my sympathy.

 

What you describe sounds similarly Autistic Spectrum, doesn't it, as well as OCD. The child, in either case, may well benifit from lots of work on structures, routines, feeling safe & secure, as a lot of structure helps my sister to cope on a day to day basis too.

 

I would echo what others have said and contact the SENCO asap - it's not to get a 'diagnosis' which may well prove impossible at this age, but to get some help on making your pupil feel happier and more secure.

 

Hope that makes sense,

 

Dianne xxx

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Hi

Just wondered how long she has been at pre-school and has she always displayed this behaviour. Wondered if she is lacking in general self confidence and her fiddling with socks, clothing etc is a sort of comforting/reassuring mechanism - sort of a little bit lost, not sure what to do next and maybe not able to verbalise her feelings??

 

I have no great experience of OCD but I thought it was more specific and more ritual based - such as constant hand washing to the extent the skin becomes raw. Or sock pulling in a certain way, say pull them up, turn the top over, turn it up again - a particular pattern that the child always uses.

 

Don't know if this makes any sense!!!

 

Do let us know what happens and good luck!

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I have contacted the area SENCO and am awaiting a reply. When children come in they change into slippers. Her mum couldn't cope with the sock ritual so she took her socks off of her. Apparantly she is happier not wearing any clothes at all. She is only obsessional with her clothes and occasionally her lunch box

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A close relative of mine has OCD and it is more like Geraldine describes, the ritual and above all else the repetition, rather than the fussines that you desrcibe, which sounds more like autistic spectrum as Dianne said . I also only though that OCD affectde older children and adults as it takes tinme to build, and is nearly always linked to an emotional difficulty in their lives. In the case of my family member, he has got progressively worse in the past 15 years, and can take up to an hour to leave the house, or carry out simple activities like washing hands, closing curtains or doors, putting money away, etc

 

But I think you are right to have expressed a concern, and Im sure yur area SENCO will know more.

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This child has not always displayed this behaviour. but it is rapidly worsening week by week. When she first came to us she was very fidgety but this was not too much of a problem as on the 2 days she attended we had lots of physical play. She had already attended a pre-school before but did not settle there. She is always a little hesitant when her mum leaves but soon settles. She has made friendships inside the group. It took a while before the children accepted her because she was spiteful to the others. With lots of patience she has got much better. I don't know if this is significant but she always wants to be a dog when in the role play area.

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Oh bless her! Wonder why she didnt settle at the previous setting, I think its a case of going with your gut instinct. I think you are right to seek advice especially as she has not always displayed the behavious and it is getting progressively worse.

 

As someon has already said, not necessarily for a diagnosis as such but ideas as to how best to help and support her.

 

Do hope everything works out and please let us know how it goes.

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Hmm, this type of behaviour can be symptomatic of a number of things. That's good that you've organised the senco to get involved.

 

Any number of things could be happening. Anxiety about the separation from mum, things changing at home, or simply a fussy personality! For some children, things like clothing being exact becomes important when slightly anxious about themselves in a new situation. And for some children, things that seem unimportant to others are of great importance to them.

 

Wetting herself could also be anxiety and feeling unsettled, but then again, she might just be a child who wets herself at this age frequently!

 

I think it's probably too early for any sort of definitive diagnosis, but meeting with mum and getting background on when this started happening, why she didnt settle at the previous setting, if there have been other 'obsessive' behaviours in the past, will help you to move on. If she's happy and just fussy about her clothes, then that's fine. Just put it down to personality and move on!!

 

If it is anxiety-driven, you need to take the same measures to make her feel comfortable no matter what other 'cause' there might be. Don't draw attention to it, and ask her parents to also ignore it. Once you make something like this a big deal, it will only get worse.

 

As for being a dog, I don't know. There are two little puppies in this room right now in a kennel, and trying to lick my ankles. :D Repeating games can also be a way of making yourself feel secure. After all, being four years old and away from mum can be very stressful!

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I don't know if this is relevant... I have a child we believe to be within the autistic spectrum in nursery. He had problems with wetting himself for a while partially because he had a preference for one of the toilets and would not use the others even if they were free, also he sometimes struggled with managing clothing due to weak grasp. He also had routines where he said the same things everyday when entering -quite mundain until we added it to the route through nursery and specific play with a particular toy. Our SENCo contacted someone to come and observe (with parents agreement)not diagnose, and she helped us to identify others aspects and explain how the child was probably viewing situations and how best we could support him. Definitely the best move for all of us getting this support. These people have so much more depth and breadth of experience as well as being aware of where support is etc.

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Thanks for your all your suggestions. The reason she didn't settle at her first setting according to her parents was because she is a very active child and the staff tried to curb her enthuisiasm. She not surprisingly relatiated and cried. The supervisor phoned her mum to collect her as she was unhappy!!!!. As I have an area which is used just for dancing with musical instruments,pom-poms and scarves this was not an issue for us. She has been coming to us for 1 year 5mths. Apparantly she has always been fussy about the clothes she wore, often coming in late because of this. I didn't take any notice of this as I know what little girls are like. Now it is not just a case of what she is wearing but if her clothing is not laying in a certain way. She often crys as she cannot get it right and we do not understand what she means. I hope the SENCO contacts me soon or I shall have to phone her again .

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I have been looking through some old playplans/observations that my staff have done, It now seems obvious to me that children who have a problem interacting/communicating with their friends often initiate an animal game i.e. dogs because it is a sure way of getting the attention of other children.This little girl I am concerned with was not popular with the other children when she first came and always played dogs. she is still very anxious about keeping the friends she has made as she is constantly asking the others if they like her. We do lots of friendship activities i.e making bracelets, group games to help her and we talk to her about all her friends because in the end the others get fed up with her asking for reassurance and they sometimes give her a negative response.

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Bubblejack, your comment about children being an animal to help make friends reminds me of a dear boy I used to teach with some serious communications difficulties. He spent 2 terms being a dog basically all the time - my TA (who was brilliant) was often heard telling him that "that's not what dogs do at school, good dogs never bite the other children" etc etc! And he did most of his lessons in role too.

 

After 2 terms he was playing in the role play area one day, suddenly delved into the dressing up box and emerged a few minutes later as a beautiful butterfly! (and so accurate in his actions that there was no need for words!) I think we were all close to tears that day! :D

 

No help to you, I know, but the memory cheered me up!

 

Dianne xxx

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  • 1 month later...

My son has OCD and I am sure when he saw the psychologist we were told that it could not be diagnosed below the age of 7, as a lot of obsessions are perfectly normal below this age. Obviously this child is unhappy though, and I am sure help should be sought.

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i hope this chidl has settled in pre-school bubble jack. What help did you get from the senco? I'm no specialist but the behaviour you describe seems to be within the autistic spectrum. I had 1 child with similar issues and my nephew now 15 has alsways been the same. Clothes had to be worn in the same order, same toilet evertytme and certain order for daily routines

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I contacted the SENCO and have had NO help at all. They are dividing their workload so when they manage to sort this out they will contact me. The child concerned will start school next term. At the moment it is not such an issue because the weather is warmer she is wearring less clothing.

We always have dressing up out but she will only use the props e.g.wands,tools but will never put the clothing on.

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I'm glad I'm not the only one who has dogs in the classroom. It's either dogs or babies. There is always one being led on a lead around the classroom - irrespective of how amny other new and attractive things there might be. I've just given up and I even join them now and hand them 'props' and bowls of'food' and occationally crawl around along with them. Let me tell you

IT IS VERY LIBERATING!!!!!!xD

 

TRy it and see :o

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