just signed up, daughter 15 not sure if ocd or more anxiety

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    • #13643
      Brian D

        My daughter is on the spectrum, has sensory issues, and the last few years has started showing some signs that are maybe more OCD.  Hair twirling, she has to say “good night I love you” to everyone in the house anytime she sees them later in the evening, but mostly it’s vocalizations.  She reads out loud most every word she sees.  In the car it’s all billboards, in the house it’s frequently verbalizing the time and we have to turn off captions on the tv.  This started this year, but 2 years ago she was having problems with stuttering, getting stuck, and then blurting out the first word of her thought real loud.

        Our other major struggle is with perfectionism, especially with math homework.  Since it’s done online now, you put your answer in and either get X or a checkmark.  That drives her absolutely bonkers.  She yells “WHAT DID I DO WRONG?” or “I’M SUCH AN IDIOT”. we have struggled with this one for years, even though we read about growth mindset years ago and never push for good grades, but encourage the process.

        In the parent support group today, Natasha said to take the OCD course if you know it’s mostly anxiety and possibly some OCD, so I think I will do that?

        Are there also courses for the child in this case that would be recommended?  I heard also Natasha mention getting to your core fear?  The problem is she totally shuts down when we ask about why getting things wrong in math bothers her so much.  “I just want to be perfect.”  But you know nobody’s perfect.  “I don’t care. I don’t want to fail.”  This quickly spirals to I hate school, I’m such an idiot, I want to quit, etc.  Anytime there’s homework it’s the same thing.

      • #13645

          Hi Brian,
          Welcome to the community! It was nice to see you and her on the calls today. It can be tricky because lots of autistic traits can be misinterpreted as OCD.

          Is her hair twirling possibly an anxious or soothing habit?

          I have seen autistic kids need to read things out loud (including billboards) or say their thoughts out loud. I wonder if that is more about her autism than OCD. I would try to see what is driving the behavior. With OCD there would be an intrusive thought/feeling attached, when it is due to be autistic there isn’t that component per se.

          With her perfectionism I would get to the core thought driving the behavior as well. What happens if she is less than perfect? I would perhaps due some exploring in these areas before we decide which course is better.

          Here are some resources that can help:


          I do have a kids and teens course on OCD (it is not part of what members get. It is in my online school at ATparentingsurvivalschool.com). I’m not sure at this point if that would be appropriate for her.

          If she would be willing to do a workbook, These can be helpful:


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