Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in Children.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) in children can be difficult to diagnose.  Parents often confuse developmentally-appropriate rigid behaviors with OCD behaviors.  The following table (adapted from Freeman and Garcia’s Family based Treatment for Young Children with OCD: Therapist Guide, 2009) may be helpful for parents in differentiating OCD from developmentally appropriate routines.

Photo Courtesy of D. Sharon Pruitt

Photo Courtesy of D. Sharon Pruitt

Age 1 to 2:  Strong preference for rigid routines around home rituals.  Very aware and can get upset about imperfections in toys and or clothes.

Age 3 to 5:  Repeat same play activity over and over again.

Age 5 to 6:  Keenly aware of the rules of games and other activities and may get upset if rules are altered or broken.

Age 6 to 11:  Engage in superstitious behavior to prevent bad things from happening and may show increased interest in acquiring a collect of objects.

Age 12+  Become easily absorbed in particular activities enjoyed (e.g., video games) or with particualr people (e.g., pop stars); may also show superstitious behavior in relation to making good things happen.  (e.g., performance in sports).