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OCD and Autism

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Old 11-20-2010, 12:40 PM   #1
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Canada
Posts: 2
Candycane88 HB User
OCD and Autism

I have a question for people who have children with autism or just people who know quite a bit about autism. My boyfriends 19 year old brother is severely autistic. His mother doesn't use the computer or internet and they haven't been to see a doctor yet so she is just as perplexed as I am about this particular issue. Joe, her son, my boyfriends brother, has been performing some very strange OCD behaviour recently and no one really knows where its coming from or how it started. I know people with autism usually perform very ritualistic, repetitive behaviours that can mimick OCD but this is different from his usual behaviour. A few months ago (maybe around the beginning of summer) Joe started marching instead of walking and seemed to silently count out every step (he does not speak). It has now progressed to where he marches to where ever he is going, and before he sits, he marches in place in front of the couch then before he actually sits down seems to count in his head before he does. Every single thing he does it seems like he is metering out his actions;from reaching for a glass to putting food in his mouth. Joe's mom thinks that this may have started when he learned music in school, due to counting out the beats of music and such. Joe is much more introverted these days and is seems to be running on this new system of his. The family is worried. Im worried too. Im a psychology major but know very little about autism. All i know for sure is that this behaviour is not normal for him. Although he doesn't speak or really communicate to much with others, he used to be more interactive: watching movies, making patterns out of jelly beans, playing video games, listening to music ect. Now all he does is watch TV and engage in these behaviours. His mom has described it as being "locked in" to whatever behaviour this is and its like everything about him has just slowed right down. Does anyone else have experience with autistic behaviour like this? is this in fact OCD? My boyfriend spent some time yesterday "assessing" him to see if he could bring Joe out of this and he just refused to do anything until he performed these counting behaviours. Before he marches he seems to be counting downt to the first step. Any ideas on what this is would be great. I havent found anything in the library or on the net about this so im hoping someone with personal experience will have some advice on how to fix this or any insight to why this is going on. Thanks so much!

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Old 12-04-2010, 02:48 AM   #2
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Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: USA
Posts: 228
Mira11 HB User
Re: OCD and Autism

I don't have personal experience with my son with what you describe but I agree it does sound like he is locked into this obsession about counting and that it is changing the other interests and personality that he used to have.

Sometimes these obsessions come from anxieties and are a way of making his world more predictable and certain to him. Has something happened in his life that is new and different and might be making him need to be obsessed with routine so strongly as he is? Is there anything happening at school that might be making him feel anxious a lot?

If the family is real concerned and I can see how they would be, I would suggest having him seen by a psychologist or psychiatrist to be evaluated for medication. At his age it is not unusual to need to be on medication to help with OCD behaviors or anxiety. I hope you can find help for him.

Old 12-05-2010, 06:33 PM   #3
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Canada
Posts: 2
Candycane88 HB User
Re: OCD and Autism

thanks for your reply...
i was actually going to delete this thread because we think we know what is going on.. We think that he is displaying catatonic behaviour which is very common in autistic people of his age.. he will need medication to come out of this because it is a neurological problem rather than behavioural...

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