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Destroying the House

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Old 10-11-2011, 06:41 PM   #1
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msbask HB User
Destroying the House

My almost-11 year old niece was diagnosed with PPD-NOC at age 3. Follow ups visits with physicians seem to flip flop between PDD-NOC and actual mental retardation. I tend to side with the PDD-NOC diagnosis because she seems too smart(?) to be classified as retarded. She attends public school and has been in an inclusion class up until this year (5th grade) when she started in a special ed class because I believe the stress of the class size in her school coupled with the curriculum pressure was just to much for her. She does have a full-time aide in school to keep her on task. Current medications include Stratera (among others).

My niece is slowing destroying her house. About 5 years ago, she started picking the paint off the walls of her room. It got so bad that she literally peeled all the paint off one entire wall. Fast-forward 5 years and she has now moved on to peeling her brother's room, the family dining room, hallways, bathrooms, parents bedrooms. My sister-in-law has tried all forms of punishment (ie yelling, taking away privileges, time-out, etc), but nothing seems to work.

The real issue is that she does this while the rest of the family is asleep, so when you wake up in the morning, a wall is destroyed and the paint chips are all over the floor. I've attached photos of the damage she's done.

(While this started 5 years ago, her parents separated in March of this year and the problem has definitely escalated since then.)

I ache for my sister-in-law because she's at her wits end. Everyone who knows them can't decide if she's being purposefully defiant or trapped in an OCD nightmare. By the way, she never ever does this anywhere else but her own home.

Does anyone have any suggestion of a discipline tactic that might be tried.
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Old 10-11-2011, 09:21 PM   #2
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Re: Destroying the Hourse

Clearly, she's fidgety, whether or not it's really OCD. There's no way a child spends THAT much time doing something JUST to annoy her parents.

Have they considered knitting or other hobbies, to keep her hands busy? It really might help.

Old 10-12-2011, 02:22 PM   #3
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Re: Destroying the Hourse

Would she accept more parental attention, maybe hugs, that sort of thing ? - just a gut feeling, given the separation and maybe other things on parents' mind? Hope I'm not speaking out of turn here, but I sometimes feel aspy children need and benefit from more attention than most, for longer than most. (not speaking from a position of authority here and am sure the parents on the board will give much more experienced advice)

The reason I say this is because a friend was once told to go with her kid's habits, not worry about it and concentrate on the other aspects of being a mum and it seemed, over a long period of time, and with gliches along the way, to really help - the habits seemed to reduce fairly quickly and this picking seems to be a bit of a habit maybe? The habits also seemed to be got rid of by going away on a holiday where they couldn't happen, like camping, and when they came back, some of the habits had gone

Last edited by sswallow; 10-12-2011 at 02:28 PM. Reason: To add last para

Old 11-29-2011, 07:00 AM   #4
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mmelouisiana HB User
Re: Destroying the House

This is unbelievable. Would it be possible to lock her in her room at night. You could easily just reverse the door handle (assuming it locks at all) so the lock is on the outside. Do you know what meds she's on?

Old 11-30-2011, 01:58 PM   #5
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Re: Destroying the House

Hello, i really feel for your sister inlaw & her family. I may be completely wrong, but i suspect your niece may be getting a sensory feed-back from this activity. Perhaps a discussion with a sensory therapist is the way forward if everything else has been tried/tested...

She probably only does this in her home 'cos it's a safe enviroment for her. All the best
& i hope you get the right answers

Old 12-05-2011, 05:45 AM   #6
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Re: Destroying the House

Two thoughts: If this is OCD, your sister could speak with their doctor about a trial of a mild medication for OCD to see if the need to do this is lessened.

If this does not help, I would suggest a consultation with an occupational therapist who specializes in sensory issues to put together a treatment plan. There may be sensory need that this peeling off is fulfilling and your niece is aware that at night time she can fulfill this. OT's who understand the sensory issues can help a lot if that is what this is.

Old 12-15-2011, 04:53 PM   #7
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Re: Destroying the House

Is she eating any of it? If so, that is called pica. The ingestion of it might be making her condition worse.

Old 01-15-2012, 09:45 PM   #8
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Re: Destroying the House

I agree it sounds both like an ocd act and a sensory issue. I am not an expert, but my first thought is could you get a board/drywall sheet that she could paint, let dry and t hen pick.....just that board (her own board where she has control). Definitely speak with the experts, but there a reason this is something she is compelled to do.

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