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Obsessive Compulsive behavior

I've recently become concerned with the way my two year old is acting. He has always liked to play repetitive games, but in the last few months he has developed VERY strict "rules" for his games - insisting that the person playing does things in an exact way (when pushing a car, TWO hands must be used, you must repeat exactly what he says at a certain time, or sit in a particular place), or there is crying and tantrums. His rules never change - they've stayed consistent for months, so it isn't like its just a "control" thing". And he has become obsessed w/ having his hands clean. If he takes one bit of food, I must wipe his hands after, or he tantrums and cries about being sticky, even if he isn't. At bedtime, he jerks his neck in a particular way till he falls asleep. I'm worried he is showing signs of early OCD - does anyone have experience w/ this in young children? Are his quirks actually symptoms, or just quirks?

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Asked by Anonymous at 9:49 PM on Nov. 6, 2009 in Toddlers (1-2)

Answers (12)
  • I think that age is too young for OCD behaviors........Is it possible that it is a mild form of autism?

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:52 PM on Nov. 6, 2009

  • This sounds like my Autistic son.

    Answer by NightPhoenix at 9:53 PM on Nov. 6, 2009

  • OP - I've considered autism, but he has no other signs of it. He does very well with eye contact, has concern for others and is very good with social skills like hugs and kisses and saying please and thank you. He has an outstanding vocabulary and is very easily understood when speaking...

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:54 PM on Nov. 6, 2009

  • the autistic spectum has a very wide range, you might want to discuss it with his ped. it could also just be an extreme "just so" stage

    Answer by gypsymama532 at 10:17 PM on Nov. 6, 2009

  • this sounds similar to my son, who was diagnosed with PDD (pervasive developmental disorder) when he was 4. it is on the autism spectrum. I also threw out autism at first because he has great eye contact, very loving and great with communication. Does he do any toe walking or arm/hand fidgeting or flapping?

    Answer by cmarie1123 at 10:23 PM on Nov. 6, 2009

  • OP - I've done even more research into autism and the symptoms don't seem to fit, except possibly Asperger's. But he isn't clumsy or awkward in social situations - he says hi to everybody, plays with ppl he just met, and likes to meet people. But he IS very talented in certain things - music/rhythm, he knows about 25-30 different types of vehicles and can name them all spontaneously. He knows all his colors (12 of them), can count to 12, and identifies some letters, and he only turned two last week... He seems too advanced for autism, but asperger's includes being especially talented in certain areas...

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:23 PM on Nov. 6, 2009

  • OP - no toe walking. But he does have his fingers crossed all the time... He flaps his arms when he is excited, that just started about three days ago.

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:25 PM on Nov. 6, 2009

  • I have known many autistic children. This does sound like something that should be looked into. The autism spectrum is very varied these days. There are many kids who have mild forms of autism. You asked if these are just quirks or symptoms but did you really want honest answers? We can only say what we have experienced ourselves. However, much more info is needed than what you have offered. Do you play into the tantrums that ensue when he has them because you didn't follow his rules? Or do you ignore them. I have seen many parents that create their own nightmares by the way they indulge their children. Not to say this is your situation. If you feel you have done nothing to reinforce these behaviors than you really should be looking for professional advice - not ours. Especially if you really don't want to hear the answers.

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:30 PM on Nov. 6, 2009

  • FYI - too advanced for autism??? There are many, many autistic people who have amazing talents. I grew up with an autistic child who could read - anything - at the age of two. Nobody taught him how to read (if that would even be possible to do at that age). The point is you really should seek some professional advice so that if he does have autism or aspergers (also on the autism spectrum) you can get him the intervention that is critical for his development. The earlier we start with children who are affected by this the better their future is.

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:37 PM on Nov. 6, 2009

  • My son started and has not stopped lining things up. I feel that this is an attempt to control something. His little life is constantly changing and this is one of the ways he adjusts. He also controls other things.......atleast he always asks nicely 'Mama, will you please be sure to put my milk in the grey cup with the dinosaurs?'

    I think that what your kido is doing is normal. If it starts running his life and yours then he may need alittle help. I recently had to make a very hard decision for my boy, my boy will be evaluated for displaying aggression twords animals.....which i belive this is because he feels out of control and uses the dogs as a outlet. Also, he lives in two homes, Mama and Daddy's. This as ben his life since birth and has never expressed separation anxiety but, i belive this is also apart of not having control.

    (hey, sorry I needed to tell someone about the eval to make it real in my head)

    Answer by Ihatelaundry at 10:48 PM on Nov. 6, 2009

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