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    Default Services/options for children with obsessive fixations?

    Hi mamas,

    My 4 year old has been having a hard time, on and off for I'd say it first manifested two years ago now but it's getting worse/more frequent, with obsessive or intrusive thoughts that seem related to anxiety. Looking up symptoms of childhood OCD, a lot of her stuff seems to fit (altho I'm leary of diagnoses like that and I think OCD doesn't get diagnosed until 7 but she fits a lot of the stuff on the list). It seems that she fixates on worries about violating taboos, if that makes sense, like her latest thing was that snot and spit and pee was going to get on everything, that there will be a 'rip' in various things around the house, and now that she is going to hurt the baby on purpose (although she is really gentle with the baby so it seems really out of place to be so worried about hurting her). Tonight we were playing catch and she stopped, saying she would hurt the baby with the (plastic, lightweight) ball we were using, and wouldn't be swayed to keep playing even though I told her I could keep the baby safe and not to worry about it. That kind of thing.

    It comes and goes, like it will be gone for months, she had one big thing of it when I was pregnant, and now this, and of course I have a newborn and there have been a lot of changes related to that. When she fixates on something like this, she talks about it nonstop and becomes really clingy with me, won't go to her 'school'/childcare, and when I take her there she cries and begs for me, disrupting the other children and the routine and basically being hysterical and impossible to console until I get her. It doesn't seem conscious, like it's not something she seems to be strategically doing for attention or whatever, and it seems to have very little basis in reality although it is often triggered by something real. Like for example I am 100% certain she would not hurt the baby on purpose, that kind of thing, but the 'rip' fixation started after she had a rip in her dress yesterday and we told her not to poke her fingers through or it would get bigger. Now she is worried about rips getting in all sorts of things.

    So... I'm kind of wondering what I can do about this, other than muddling our way through it as we have been. I'm mostly concerned that if I am in school next year, I won't be available to come get her from her school (this was really hard this year and basically for a little bit she was so hysterical that her dad or I kept her with us every minute that he wasn't working or I wasn't in class, making for shortened days for her, because she was just unable to cope while she was going through that anxious obsessing spell). I really dont want to do that again and am worried that with the baby and my own school still, it's just going to be impossible for me to take her out of school if she has another phase of this. And, this latest phase is really prolonged... it started maybe a month ago now?, and seemed to go away for about a week or at least several days and then yesterday and today it is back worse than ever.

    Anyone else have children who deal with this stuff? Any ideas on what resources there are locally? I told our nurse about it, she does our health care, but she kind of pooh-poohed it as an eccentric phase and not very serious, whereas I'm thinking it is starting to feel like it's beyond that and it is impeding her functioning in the world, yk? I wonder what would a first step be toward getting some professional guidance with this? I don't want/need a big diagnosis or anything, but some educated strategies to deal with this and help her calm down, slow down or deal better with the thoughts, and need less constant reassurance from me would be good.
    Last edited by myrrah; 07-07-2008 at 10:56 PM.
    LondonMoms has really gone downhill, ever since they started chit chatting in the home and garden forum. There is a place for chit chat, people!!!

  2. #2
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    Do you have a family doctor you trust? My brother has Tourrette's and ocd is often affiliated with that. We see Dr.Goodhew, in St.Thomas. He was very very thorough in looking into anything he doesn'talready know, to be of help. If you want I can ask my mom the name of the guy in London that he was referred to as a child -- he may be of help.
    Also, do you have Children First in London, or is that a local thing to here?
    They sometimes are able to help match people up with social services, like counsellors or tutors or whatever is needed.

    Other than that, my suggestions are not professional but just from having observed my own brother over the years --
    Try to keep something, anything, routine. If you have classes that change and so on, that's tough,but try to have something she can rely on no matter what, even if it's just that she gets three books before bed -- but time of night varies. Or she gets breakfast with daddy, even if she has to wake early. Something, kwim?
    Also, let her have somewhere she can 'let loose' with these ideas. If she isn't already aware of how 'different' they make her, she will be soon enough...one of the curses of being in a school system and surrounded by your peers is they do so love to point out your every little uniqueness. So she will soon start (probably) trying to stifle herself at school, or around a picky grandparent, or whomever else she does not feel 'safe' with. So let her know home is SAFE. Home she can be how she needs to -- if it means not touching stuff for fear of ripping it, or voicing her every thought to you, so be it...
    let her have that outlet, or it will become more and more pronounced. I hope I don't sound like I'm being a know it all, this is just stuff that I saw my mom do with my brother and it helped.

    You are very compassionate to recognize that this is not consciously a behaviour thing. So many times people chalk stuff up to an attention grabber and it worries me. Sometimes, it's more, kwim. Even if it's anxiety because she's getting less attention or because of a new baby, it's not a 'normal' way to exhibit anxiety, so it's still worrisome! Does that makes sense?

    Anyway if you want me to find the dr's name from mom let me know. I know he's done studies about ocd and stuff like that.
    DD1 age 7 DS age 11
    "I will remember you." July/10
    Baby Elaina born October 28th, 2011. Making every single day that much more special.
    INTERESTED IN BUYING DVDS OF OLD KIDS' SHOWS. Mr.Rogers', Mr.Dressup, Polka Dot Door, etc

  3. #3
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    omgosh thank you, what a helpful post! i would love the name of the doc, and shall i see if dr. goodhew will see her? unfortunately i am BAD at routine and ritual, it is one of the things i feel most guilty about as a mother actually. i suck at it! her dad is better, and they have a lot of little rituals that she really loves. we have some too but not many, not consistently so, yk? i should work on that... the 3 books at bedtime is very manageable, i should start doing that every night.

    that's really validating about letting home be an outlet... i do let her go on and on about it and i am always patient etc, but sometimes i dont know how to respond. with teh snot fixation i had it down to a fine art... she would ask 'mama is it okay if snot gets on xyz?' and i would say 'you decide. is it okay?' (I had told her it's fine if you can't see the snot). So she was deciding for herself, eventually asking less nd less, and I thought we were golden. Enter the rips in the wall etc and the hurting of the baby and I feel like we're back at square one. I told her I will help her and we will figure it out if she hurts the baby or the wall gets a rip in it etc and that seemed somewhat helpful but not nearly as good as the snot thing I had going. But I'm cool with it and I like freaky people so I'm sure she is getting the most positive possible messages here about how it's okay to be a bit odd (I know she knows this stuff is at least a little weird). I also told her that everyone worries about things sometimes, has thoughts like this, and it's okay to just notice them etc. Dunno how helpful that was...

    MY housemate, our nurse, and a few other people have said the thing about 'well it's because of the new baby' etc. And ITA that so what? it's a weird/outside the range of normal response to stressors like that. Exactly! My housemate doesn't get it, I feel like people are minimizing and I think this is actually possibly kind of a big deal, yk? Like, I don't think oh well, it's just eccentric. I think it's causing her a lot of stress and upset and I think we might need some help with it.

    And the Tourette's association... my daughter's dad mentioned he found that in his reading about this. The first phase of this started about 2 years ago, she woudl clear her throat and say spit went down the wrong way, which she then shortened and would just mutter 'spit, spit.' I took a video of it, honestly it owuld be every 20 seconds or so for HOURS per day. Then she just started clearing her throat, which her dad said he read is called a 'sub vocal tick?' The throat clearing has come back some, we thought she was calmed down again and then we noticed she was clearing her throat all the time.
    LondonMoms has really gone downhill, ever since they started chit chatting in the home and garden forum. There is a place for chit chat, people!!!

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    I'm not dealing with the same issue, but other issues with my DS, and honestly, people who don't know, DO minimize things, until they really notice it, and then they constantly nag you about when you're getting your LO help..

    The system isn't set up so well to help LO's with issues out, I have come to discover sadly.

    My DS has major sensory issues.. like- sand, grass- he won't go on them, unless he got socks & shoes on, and he won't touch sand. He'll play with a shovel leaning over the side of a sandbox, but oh my if he gets sand on his hands.. in his shoe.. whatever. He freaks. He also has meltdowns over some really, really strange things. Lately he's obessed with asking if we still love him, and want him.
    I could go on and on about the issues my LO has, but I want you to know you aren't alone in coping with a LO who has something going on.

    And the killer part.. it's totally out of your control, and theirs!

    I suggest talking to your family DR, if you have one, and SHOW them the video.

    My Family DR's nurse/receptionist finally 'got it' when she heard my DS screaming in the background one day, not so long ago when I called when I didn't know what else to do- when he'd be doing it for two days straight.

    Keep on keeping on. Reassure her best you can. Try and find some support- madam vaniers may be helpful, but I'm not 100% on that. It can't hurt to call them anyways- they are self- referal.

    If you ever wanna chat/vent about it, feel free to PM me. While I don't know exactly what you're dealing with, I can totally empathize.

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    Thanks Leigh! Yeah, it sure is stressful eh? It's disheartening to hear the system sucks on these issues. I'd really love some professional guidance on helping her self calm when this stuff comes up so she is less freaked out and less clingy with me. I want her to be able to cope with school, I want me to be able to go to school without dealing with a child hysterical over irrational things, yk? Some of what we are reading is saying 'dont become part of the ritual.' Which I had been totally doing because when she would ask if this or that was okay I would say yes it is. Then I turned it around to ask her if things were okay, or now when she asks all frantic 'what if I hurt the cat on purpose' and I talk with her about it... I just wonder where the line is, how to know if I am part of the ritual, if that makes sense. Or if that is just BS and it's fine to comfort her. Don't know. And honestly, some of what she says if taken at face value sounds really wacky and over the edge, and it's stressful to deal with it and try to figure out what is going on and how to respond. I want professional comfort - lol! Like yesterday when she started about what if she hurts the baby, I was saying hurting the baby is not okay, she cannot hurt the baby. And that made it worse, she got more anxious, and then I realized that she is not wanting to hurt the baby but is somehow fixated on the possibility (and upset by very minor things like slightly squishing the baby when she gave me a hug). So then I responded differently, more gently, reminding her she has not ever hurt the baby, she is the gentlest big sister I know, sounds like there are a lot of worries in her head right now etc. But I want help with that! I'm just kind of feeling my way through here.
    LondonMoms has really gone downhill, ever since they started chit chatting in the home and garden forum. There is a place for chit chat, people!!!

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    Yep.. it does suck.

    Wish I had some better advice for you. It's hard when you know your child is anxious and you can't figure out quite what to do.

    My DS gets anxious often, and it's so difficult.

    I think turning the question back to her is a good starting place. Maybe ask her why shes anxious about it even? Why should she be, when she's been such a big sister? Did she accidently think she hurt the baby before?
    Ask things like those, and you might find a root for at least that anxiety, and fear.

    I'm actually terrified to enroll my DS in jk for sept, because of all his issues. On one hand- I know the socialization would be great for him, on the other, I'm terrified it will just throw him over the edge.

    Its a tough spot to be in- I can only HOPE that we'll be up to the top of the waitlists we're on and getting some help for him.
    Last edited by Leigh; 07-08-2008 at 01:39 AM. Reason: spelling

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    Ugh waitlists!!!!! I never even thought of that. Jay-sus. Welcome to the health care system these days, I suppose. I hear you on the JK... my daughter goes to the nicest little school on earth, with one teacher and two other kids, run by this really gentle woman. It's about the sweetest, most nonthreatening supportive place I can imagine for a LO. If she can't deal with *that* when she is having an episode of this stuff, how the heck is she going to deal with real actual school? We have a year before we have to find out the answer to that question, but I worry. I just can't imagine how she would be okay.

    She can't really say where the anxiety is coming from, she kept insisting that she had hurt the baby on purpose but wouldn't say when/how. I think it was a slight squish where I said 'oh dont squish Z!' and then moved her a little before hugging her. Also at Sunfest yesterday she accidentally rolled on my grown up friend who was laying in the grass, and my friend responded in a surprised, jumping way (of course!) which upset Maya and she burst into tears and was inconsolable and insisting to me (whispering in my ear) that she had done it a little bit on purpose. Which she had not done, she was playing with these other folks and they kinda accidentally scared her a little and she rolled away. I could see that she was expecting a different reaction from my friend, like an amused reaction, and was taken back at the surprise. But when she got upset I comforted her right away and my friend comforted her too and said she knew it was an accident and she is not hurt and it's okay. But Maya was freaking out for several minutes until we went to the bathroom and she got distracted. And then after that the fixating about hurting people on purpose got more intense.

    It seems these episodes are triggered by things as little and simple as that, yk? Just normal events that she takes really seriously.
    LondonMoms has really gone downhill, ever since they started chit chatting in the home and garden forum. There is a place for chit chat, people!!!

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    Yep- My DS will ask us if we love him, and still want him, if we ask him to put a toy away, or anything simple like that. Where he got the notion or idea that we didn't love him or want him, is beyond me, and I'm sure it's beyond him as well.


    I hear ya on the school thing- My DS is very much a loner. He much perfers being alone to being in a group. Another sensory issue for him- loud noise, lots of people.
    While other babies LOVE the sound of a vacuum.. my DS at almost 4- still FREAKS when we turn it on.

    Yes, the waitlists are long, and the wait is tedious, when all you want is something to help, like last week, and you've run out of ideas, and nothing else seems to be working.

    You just have to keep pushing for someone to listen. Sittingpretty can tell you about that- she's helped me alot with information and DRs names for my DS.

    Again, wish I had something more constructive for you, but I don't.
    I hope you and Maya can find something that works!!

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    Thanks a lot Leigh - it's good to talk about it. Although the actual issues sound different your DS and my DD sound a lot alike! Let's have a homeschool coop for the two lil buggers - lol. So interesting that with him it was there from very early, the response to the vacuum - wow! Yeah the extreme responses are so wild, like it's not like I'm uber strict and she is traumatized and guilt ridden or anything, yk? Although I do have anxiety myself and she has probably noticed that so I'm not exactly the best role model for coping perfectly with life's stressors. Who knows who knows... I tell myself its coz she is so bright and eccentric. Makes me feel better - lol!
    LondonMoms has really gone downhill, ever since they started chit chatting in the home and garden forum. There is a place for chit chat, people!!!

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    Yeah, my DS has been what I call high needs since the moment he was born. He literally would freak, and still does to the sound of the darn vacuum.. but when it's off.. he loves to push it around?

    And it is nice to find people who can relate. May not be the same, but it's nice to know you aren't alone!
    If I had the tolerance and thought I was capable of dealing with it, I would homeschool him.. but man. Sometimes I just need the break from him. Lol

    I do suggest calling Vanier's though. If they can't help you, I'm sure they could help you find someone you can!!

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    Yeah I will call Vaniers, thanks! I almost forgot that actually.

    I hear you on the homeschool. I was all gonna do it but reality is I just dont have that kind of energy. I have school of my own and I'm not someone who is super high functioning and high energy getting a bunch of stuff done in one day. I can only do so much, and she has so far gotten a way better education from her teacher and her dad than I give her. I'm more the comfort/love person, not the 'let me teach you all about xyz' person.

    That's hilarious that he will push around the vacuum when it's not running!! I don't know if mine had signs or not... she was always a happy baby but definitely needed to be held/nursed all the time. And couldn't be passed around to many people (well pretty much anyone - lol!), and now won't go with many people. Hard to tell, you can take anything and make it into a sign, at least her dad and I have been finding we can! If the holding/nursing thing is a sign of this anxiety she is having I'm screwed coz my babe is exactly the same way. Lordisa!
    LondonMoms has really gone downhill, ever since they started chit chatting in the home and garden forum. There is a place for chit chat, people!!!

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    The only thing I can think of is maybe seeing a psychologist? I'm thinking maybe the wait times would be less... only thing is it could be expensive. Just a thought.

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    Perhaps the reason she worries she is going to do something 'on purpose' is because she's feeling compulsions -- beyond just saying "what if I hurt the baby" she may be feeling compelled to do so. This doesn't mean she's cruel or evil, just that she's got like you said, obsessive compulsions. So to us, it sounds like "What if I do this on purpose, and hurt this person?" but in her head she's more meaning "What if I have to hurt her?" kwim?
    Maybe try talking to her about what 'on purpose' means. And also, about how sometimes we all do things cos we just feel we HAVE to, use some example from your world and try to get her to relate one. Example I can think of is, when you get in the car do you always have to adjust your mirror, even though no one else has driven it? or when you eat, do you eat all of one item, then all of the next? stuff like that -- not 'odd' ones, but still, no point beyond the fact taht you feel you should do it, ie are compelled to. In her, it could feel like I have to do this, or else! even though she has no idea what the ELSE is.
    I know when my brother was small, the firstsigns he had tourrette's were things like the throat clearing, stretching neck/shoulders, blinking, scuffing one foot rhythmically when he walked, and so on.
    It went on from there to the point he was miserable aboutschool, and eventually mom took him in and wow, the changes in him once he was able to really talk about it all, and get medication, is amazing. He is 19 now, but was part of a study in London. Now, if you met him on the street you would just thing he's just a shy guy who gets a bit nervous talking to a pretty lady, kwim, wouldn't guess it's Tourrette's. Except sometimes under high stress, but it gets him through daily life better.

    I'll talk to mom later, get some names and advice.

    Oh I forgot my point about the compulsion thing was, even if she does it because she feels she should or has to, isn't quite the same as doing it on purpose. So maybe you can get that across to her -- that following a compulsion isn't the same as thinking "I'm gonna hurt her!" whack!. It's still not exactly on purpose, kwim?
    DD1 age 7 DS age 11
    "I will remember you." July/10
    Baby Elaina born October 28th, 2011. Making every single day that much more special.
    INTERESTED IN BUYING DVDS OF OLD KIDS' SHOWS. Mr.Rogers', Mr.Dressup, Polka Dot Door, etc

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    Myrrah- not much help in terms of telling you where to get help or support but *aliie* and Leigh have given you some great advice. BTDT I find is always the most helpful and it is always nice when people share their experiences.

    I can understand your concerns and I think you have great mama instincts so trust what you are feeling. If you feel that it is more than just being 'eccentric' than it may likely be more than that. At least it is worth pursuing for M.'s sake and your own. I can honestly say that after seeing you in action dealing with M. when she is fixated that you are incredible with her. Your patience, understanding and permission to feel what she is feeling seems to me to be the basis for whatever else needs to be done.

    I hope you find some answers or support and I am sending you a big hug!!
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    Thanks mamas.

    Quote Originally Posted by *allie* View Post
    Oh I forgot my point about the compulsion thing was, even if she does it because she feels she should or has to, isn't quite the same as doing it on purpose. So maybe you can get that across to her -- that following a compulsion isn't the same as thinking "I'm gonna hurt her!" whack!. It's still not exactly on purpose, kwim?
    Hmmm I wonder how to communicate this. I should try to think on it. We've talked about accidentally vs on purpose, how if something is on purpose you know you are going to do it, and if it is an accident it is a surprise. I also tried today telling her 'It sounds like you are having some anxious thoughts. When those pop into your head, you know you can just tell them to go away' etc. She wasn't impressed though.

    We called Vanier... wait list is 8 mos. Gonna call back tomorrow and get on it (I forgot to give Maya's dad the heads up that there is a wait list and I think he was so surprised to hear that that he forgot to get on it - lol). Want to check out other options in the meantime.
    LondonMoms has really gone downhill, ever since they started chit chatting in the home and garden forum. There is a place for chit chat, people!!!

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