An OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) is an anxiety disorder in which a person has an unreasonable thought, fear, or worry (obsession) that they try to manage through a ritualized activity (compulsion).
Common obsessions in children include fear of dirt and germs, the need to have things in a certain order, and aggressive impulses such as hair pulling. These obsessions lead to compulsions, which are repeated over and over, such as washing hands and arranging items in a specific order. These compulsions create a lot of anxiety in kids, because they know their behavior is different and strange, yet they can’t stop.
OCD kids have a hard time adjusting to a traditional school environment. The compulsions make it impossible for the child to maintain full focus, which makes it very hard for them to follow what is being said in the classroom and complete their schoolwork on time. Worries about cleanliness and organization make it extremely difficult to play with other children. In addition, kids often ridicule OCD children because they find them “weird.” Thus, the anxiety of going to school and facing challenging situations (mess, dirt) and the other children is added to the anxiety brought on by the obsession.
While some parents choose to treat OCD kids with medication, others worry about side effects and want to find a way to empower their child to manage their condition without relying on medication. With all the challenges facing these children in the traditional school system, special needs homeschooling often becomes the best choice.
OCD doesn’t go very well with the traditional schooling’s structure – the need to get up early, be on time, do homework every afternoon and go to bed on time are very stressful for OCD kids, who typically need lots of time and patience.
Homeschooling the OCD child provides relief from the impossibly (to them) rigid schedule of the traditional school system and from the anxiety and stress of dealing with the disorder at school. A homeschooling schedule can be flexible and can be worked around the child’s needs while allowing them to gradually learn to manage and control their disorder. In fact, in many cases, as soon as the pressure of traditional schooling is taken off, levels of anxiety dramatically decrease.