Roger’s parents were nervous about the new school year. They remembered how Roger’s OCD had surfaced. His fear of possibly choking on lunch food had kept him away for weeks. This problem subsided, but Roger’s OCD had morphed into contamination fears. His parents were on edge and wanted to be ready.
Parents whose children struggle with OCD wish for them to succeed academically, but when OCD gets in the way, they feel lost and helpless. They may not be sure if the school needs to be aware of the issue. Parents may fear that telling the teacher will single their child out and exacerbate the situation.
Deciding when to talk to school staff.
There are various types of OCD and severity will vary among individuals. When children are looking forward to school despite OCD challenges, this is good news!
As long as a child’s emotional, social, and academic functioning is not severely affected by OCD, parents should wait to speak with school staff. Children can continue to work at home and with their treatment provider. Parents and the treatment provider can assess the child’s functioning throughout the school year. On the other hand, when children’s OCD gets in the way of appropriate functioning, parents will need to address the situation with teachers and school personnel right away.
Don’t feel embarrassed about your child’s OCD. OCD is a mental illness, as diabetes is a physical illness. One should not be looked at differently than the other. The stigma is slowly disappearing and parents of children with mental challenges can make a difference. One way is to raise awareness and knowledge at the school level. A child’s ability to overcome daily challenges are best met when parents, educators, and mental health providers are on the same page.