OCD Behavior in Autistic Children

Good Morning and Happy Monday!


Chloe has OCD or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Many children with Autism have OCD as well. If you are not familiar with OCD it is an anxiety disorder where the child/person must do things a certain way or in Chloe’s case place items and toys in a specific place.

It is said they believe doing things this way keeps things calm for themselves. An example of a few typical OCD behaviors may be washing hands a lot, counting, having items arranged in a specific way or I have seen someone fixed frayed pieces on a rug. There are so many it is hard to list them all.

Is there a difference between OCD and Repetitive Behaviors we see in Autism? Children with Autism have repetitive behaviors like arranging toys and items a certain way (lining up), counting, touching or tapping. I have read in many articles that children with Autism are not likely to obsess over these rituals, but react to urges and may not do them to reduce anxiety or fear.

Hmm, knock over a line of toys and see your child “NOT” react with anxiety.


Can a child have Autism and OCD?

Oh yes I live with that child. Children with Autism have a much higher risk of developing an anxiety disorder than the rest of us.

Chloe definitely has OCD. She is completely obsessed her toys being on the floor and the kitchen table. She turns cups and other objects in a specific direction. She is very ritualistic about finishing scripting or anything she is doing. She cant stop or come back to it later. SHE MUST FINISH!!! She must have the same morning and evening routine. One of her older sisters put her to bed one night without the routine. It did not go well.

Does OCD interfere with Daily Life?

YES YES and YES!! If there is an emergency and I need Chloe to drop what she is doing and go it would and has gone badly. Also having to plan things around her routines. If we need to go somewhere and need to leave at say 12:00, we know not to let her watch anything or start something that wont be finished by 12. Fortunately we don’t run a lot and if we have an appointment we plan her day around it.

The worse OCD trait I want to change is the obsession with her toys being on the floor all the time. Cleaning her room is a nightmare! I know I have to be patient. She will eventually outgrow some toys and let them go. I keep trying to work with her.

What can we do about Chloe’s OCD behaviors?

The typical treatment is going to behavior therapy (ABA) or taking medication. Some see a psychiatrist,

This is how we handle it right now:

Educate ourselves on OCD and ways to fix each situation.

Don’t point our or make fun of your child’s behaviors or rituals. We want to fix it ASAP, but if you push to hard it will make things worse. Calmly talk about the behavior when you see it.

Don’t be part of the rituals… This is where I struggle. Chloe walks to our wall clock and will say “Oh its a 9” and goes through to 12. She wants me to repeat what she says to a “T”. I forget and will do it sometimes. Instead I will extend her communication by saying “Yes a clock has a 9 on it” or ” What do we do at 9:00″.


I notice once on OCD behavior goes away another one will replace it. Try to redirect it when it first begins. OCD is so challenging. It can consume their lives and ours. It interferes with social and emotional growth. The sooner we notice it and redirect the behavior, the less it will consume them.

I hope I explained this well. We live this everyday and it is draining. I cant imagine how hard it is for those who have it. Prayer to all.


Have a very wonderful and blessed day.

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