Hello, guest
Name: kellyv
[ Original Post ]
hi everyone,

i am a mom to a 13 year old highly functioning autisic boy.

recently he has started to show severe signs of OCD with regard to overwashing of his hands, brushing of his teeth, use of deoderant, etc...

his hands are so bad that we have started to use a topical steroid to help prevent any further damage. they are very red and chapped, cracking in many places.

we have removed the soap and toothbrush from his bathroom to try to deter some of these behaviors.

is there anyone out there who has experienced this?? and if so, do you have any advice on how to help him overcome this?

thank you so much.
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Name: julieoz | Date: Jun 1st, 2010 5:07 PM
Hi Kelly,
Just found this web site today and the first post i read was yours. Couldn't believe what I read! I too have a high functioning autistic daughter who is 14 and displays the exact same symptoms as your son!

Overwashing of the hands has become better, again like your son hers were red raw and very dry. I gave her an intensive hand cream to use and over this last year this particular habit has reduced.
Brushing of the teeth is another matter! I even had to get the dental hygienist to go through the two minute procedure, even giving her a timer to use. She still goes over the timer because she claims she cannot brush all of her teeth in just 2 minutes. Every night before bed she will tell me she has overgone her timer and asks if her teeth and gums will be ok!
Deoderant again rolling several times under each arm and then repeating it, tighnening the cap really hard.
I forgot to mention with the ocd on the handwashing she eventually broke the taps because she kept turning them off so tight. We have now changed the taps to a different type where she doesnt have to turn she can just flip to one side. These are just a few of her daily rituals, I could ramble on for ever!
My daughter has now been diagnosed as having ocd and I can only hope things will improve over time.
Hope this has been of some help and would love to chat more.

Name: kellyv | Date: Jun 2nd, 2010 4:38 PM
Hi Julie,

Thank you so much for your reply. It is so nice to know there is another mom out there going through something very similar.

I have been so frustrated and feel very helpless in this situation. I am sure you can relate all too well.

When did she start showing signs of the OCD behavior?? Do you feel it coincided with puberty by chance??

My son is now onto if he eats any type of bread at lunch he won't eat it at dinner. This, again, is something new. It is so hard to wrap my head around what is going on in his. Bless his heart.

I am happy to hear her hand washing has reduced. Did that just happen on it's own and then she went on to something new??

Again, thank you for responding.

One more question...with her diagnosis of OCD is she on any type of medication for that???

Talk soon,

Name: julieoz | Date: Jun 3rd, 2010 4:58 PM
Hi Kelly,

Thank you for getting back to me.
I can understand your frustration and feeling of helplesness towards your son as I too feel like that but I try now to take a day at a time and just deal with it in the moment. Some days I feel I could explode but now I just take a step back and think if we are late for school we are late. Nothing I do or say is going to change her and there is no magic pill to take all of this away.

No, she is not on any medication and yes I think you are probably right that the OCD kicked in around puberty time.

My daughter is OCD about alot of things and as one gets better another one will emerge.

Like your son with his food she will only eat one thing on her plate at a time often asking me which thing she should eat first!
When she puts her plate in the dishwasher she will stand and touch the runners under the tray. Night times are the worse, she has her fixed routine toilet,teeth, checking that all the doors are locked and that the dog has been let out and then putting her toothbrush and timer in her bedroom so it doesnt get our germs on it! She comes in to see me several times at night before finally settling down. She needs reassurance that her day tomorrow will be ok and asks does she have anything to worry about . She asks me if anything bad will happen to her in the night and will she be ok. She asks several times and then finally goes to bed!
I am then left feeling mentally exhausted and drained and another day begins tomorrow.
I often get confused with her autism and OCD and often ask myself which is which because obsession with routine is prominent in both.

I'm sorry there is no sound advice I can give you, as far as I know there is no medication to treat OCD. All I can suggest is to be patient and loving, but firm at the same time and just go with the flow. My daughter's routine has over time become my routine, which is often hard as I have two other mainstream children!

Would love to hear from you again, Julie. 

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