HELP! My son on the spectrum is crippled by his OCD

I am new to support groups. I hope you can help me! I have a 10 yr old son. Diagnosed ASD at 4. He did ABA therapy until he was 7 and we found sucess. Lately his OCD has become crippling. (Not letting me touch him, won't eat anything I make, will only eat off paper plates, using toothpicks instead of his fingers on the keyboard, won't use utensils)... Anyway, I am trying to start up ABA again, but I'm not sure if that's the path I should go down with these OCD issues. Advice from spectrum/OCD parents? Is ABA the right choice or should he start seeing a therapist?  Has anyone put their spectrum kids on OCD meds? Thanks so much!

  • It's been so long since you wrote this I'm not sure if you're still looking for an answer. But.....

    My son did ABA for quite a while. It has it's benefits, but ABA is not designed to address OCD issues. OCD is at heart an anxiety issue. ABA is designed to use demands to get behaviors. It honestly sounds to me  like that would probably make anxiety issues worse (I suppose with the slightly possible exception of performance/task initiation anxiety, for some people).

    I would recommend a counselor before medication to deal with OCD, depending on how severe it is, but I have heard that medication can be helpful too. Each person is a little different so don't hesitate to keep track of what you've tried and do what works for your son.

    Best wishes,


  • Beryllium Fall has a good point about OCD being an anxiety issue. Speaking as an adult on the spectrum who also has OCD, the more stressed out I am, the worse my OCD gets, and the lower functioning I become in that situation, as a result. If you know a doctor familiar with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, you might ask about trying that Point up

    I was diagnosed with OCD in adulthood, about a year before I got my ASD diagnosis, and CBT was what my doctor recommended for me at the time.  In my case, it consisted of gradually changing one compulsive behavior at a time, recording my anxiety level on a scale of 1~10 at the time of completing an action “not quite right” to my sensibilities, then continuing to update that record every 15 min. and noticing how eventually that horrible feeling of not having done it “right” would drop down the scale until it became negligible. I learned eventually to relax on some things, and other things that were possible to avoid, I *have* avoided since, as they aren’t essential to my life and not worth the grief of OCD or even the trouble of trying to work through them with CBT.

    I don’t know if CBT works the same way with children as it does with adults, but it may at least be worth consulting a therapist about, to see if it might be something to try with your son, whether it turns out he needs medication or not Point up

  • Lack of Omega3 or vitamin  D and others,

    Minerals in fluid form to add in orange juice,

    can make it easier for both of you. 

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