Teachers Guide to OCD in the Classroom
How to Minimize Behavioral Problems
- Plan an escape route: Try working out a communication system so that if the student feels symptoms coming on, she can signal to you and leave the classroom, or go to a protected place in the classroom, without interrupting the class. It can prevent an embarrassing and disruptive blowup of symptoms in the classroom, and the other kids picking on or bullying her about it.
- Be aware of triggering events: It’s very important for teachers to know what kind of things might trigger the symptoms. Fatigue is a huge piece of OCD, and it can be exacerbated by medication. So it’s important to know that if a child is drowsy in class, and maybe he’s putting his head down, it’s not because he’s being oppositional or disrespectful, but because he’s overwhelmed with fatigue.
- Advance notice: Irritability and frustration are two of the longer-lasting things that kids with OCD are feeling on a daily basis. Changes in schedule can be very disruptive for a child with OCD, so it can be helpful for teachers to give advance notice of things. Kids who know what to expect are less likely to be thrown by the change.