Obsessive compulsive disorder

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental health condition which causes a child to think obsessively about a particular thing and to have little control about their behaviour.

OCD has a four-stage pattern of behaviour. The start is an obsessive thought about a particular issue. The thought leads to anxiety or unease and, in order to relieve the anxiety, the child is driven to a compulsive behaviour which leads to temporary relief. For example, an obsessive thought that a window is open, leading to unease, requiring the child to check the window in order to temporarily relieve unease or anxiety.

This pattern of behaviour can be very disruptive to a child’s ability to engage in education and can result in special educational needs (SEN).

OCD is a spectrum condition which means that there can be mild to severe OCD. Treatment can involve cognitive behaviour therapy and medication.

The impact of this difficulty can vary significantly according to the features that a particular child exhibits. In some cases, SEN additional support may be adequate, whereas in others an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) will be necessary. Careful assessment of the impact of the child’s needs is required to establish the necessary level of support and special educational needs advice should be sought.


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