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OCD with reading issues?

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Asking this for a dear friend. Her son is in public school. He does have a few other signs of OCDish behavior and seems ADHD as well. Any advice would be appreciated and passed on. Thank you!



"(my ds) taught himself to read around age 5 and was a strong independent reader for years. At approximately age 9, after he had ripped through the first nine books of Lemony Snicket's "A Series of Unfortunate Events", I noticed a sudden, dramatic shift in his pace of reading. After his daily 30 minutes of reading Book 10, "The Slippery Slope", he would come down from his room and remark somewhat sadly, "I only read ten pages." I'd ask why, and he didn't really have an answer--just that it took him a long time. Figuring perhaps he was bored with the series, I let him stop reading Book 10.



Over the next several months I tried all different kinds of books in the hopes of getting him engaged: easier books, books with exciting graphics, short story/mystery books. I also had him try wearing sound-deadening earmuffs to block out distractions and put up motivational charts of "Completed Books" to celebrate the achievement of finishing a book. Nothing helped much.


Now, a year later, things have suddenly taken a turn for the worse. Reading became so difficult I had him try reading out loud to me while I'd do other tasks. This gave me a startling window into what's going on while he reads: he decodes words fluently and reads with expression, but stops himself repeatedly, sometimes multiple times during the same sentence, out of a fear that he's "missed a word" or "doesn't understand" the sentence. My attempts to reassure him it's OK to miss the occasional word, that sometimes you need to keep reading in order to understand, were met with intense, anxious refusal to try.


Now we are at the point where he is unable to do his weeknight reading at all unless a parent sits with him and holds a card over the page, advancing it line by line as he reads aloud.


My unprofessional diagnosis is that something like OCD is at work here. Has anyone ever experienced something similar?"

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Yes and I'd humbly suggest having him looked at by a psychiatrist. OCD can get pretty bad during puberty and he really may need some extra help and possibly medication. My guess is that this is just the tip of the ice burg and he's having other issues as well but has his them well.


My son has moderately severe OCD and anxiety. He has this same issue with reading, made worse by his dyslexia. It takes him forever to read a page and not because he can't read the words, but because he has to read and re-read over and over. If he gets one word wrong, he has to start the whole page over again. If he's just worried he missed something, he has to start the whole page over again. And this is on medication. On the good side, it's actually helped his dyslexia and he's become much more fluent, but it bothers him greatly that it takes forever to finish a book. He's been reading The Hunger Games for months now.


So he's not alone, but definitely tell her to p,ease get some help. Hormones just make it all worse and you don't want him to get depressed about it.


Good luck,

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The school did a basic questionnaire for ADHD and maybe sensory issues a few weeks ago. That is it. She was planning to call and make an appointment with her ped. and talk about possible OCD.


He was reading no problem about a year ago. Could eyes and visual processing suddenly change?

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Vision can definitely change in a short time.


I think visual processing can as well, but I'm not as informed about that, I've only heard stories that make me think it can. There are muscular disorders and connective tissue disorders that can affect the tissues which influence control of the eyes. Connective tissue disorders can also affect the cornea.


I honestly don't think the likelihood of something so serious happening would be much of a possibility, but if you see a sudden change like you described in your post, I think the first stop should be an eye doctor. There are different types of eye doctors, and I don't know which type to recommend in a case like this. I would just try to find one with experience and a very good reputation. Perhaps someone else has a suggestion...

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