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

DEVELOPMENTALLY APPROPRIATE BEHAVIORS
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).

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