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.
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).