Special Education/Ocd 1st gr


I don't agree with your reply at all mainly because I've read many cases of OCD and homeschooling. Schools aren't equipped to deal with this.  I wish I knew someone who had more experience with this to help me navigate.  I can't send my son to school ro get worse and his health is more important than 2nd grade

Hi Gg,

Thanks so much for following up with me.  It's OK for you not to agree with me, of course, but let me be sure I am expressing what I would like to share.

If you feel that your child needs medical intervention for his Anxiety Disorder/ OCD, and you believe the current general education classroom is harmful, I believe you have a few options.

You can locate a program that specializes in OCD, whether it is a day program or a residential program.  You can pay for that program on your own, via insurance, or with a variety of sources.  You can also potentially have a specialized placement from the school system, and the school system will fund it, but you will have to go through the IEP/504 Plan process to make that happen. Someone like me can help you locate such a program, but you will need to be sure that evaluations are done (medical and psychological) which recommend that level of intervention.

If you believe your son needs a more short term intervention, then again, you can find a program, but the question is where he will attend school after the intervention is 'finished'?  You can transition him back into the general classroom, but if you feel it is harmful, after the medical intervention, he may still need a more specialized program, even after medical treatment.  

I was not recommending homeschooling.  I was offering that most school systems have a 'home and hospital teaching' component, IF a child is UNABLE to attend school due to a physical or mental medical condition.  That is totally different from a parent being the teacher in homeschooling.  This "home and hospital teaching" or 'homebound' instruction is a short term solution that would have him getting some services from the school district, but not attending school.

You cannot leave him enrolled in school but not send your son, because eventually the school will determine he is truant.  When the school moves forward with truancy, it can become disagreeable and the school has options to take you to court and involve protective services.  So, you have to either find a private program, allow the school district to provide services at home for the SHORT term, withdraw your son and place him in a private program, withdraw him and homeschool him, or you can go through the special education process to obtain an appropriate specialized placement.

Those are the options I am aware of.

The most serious case of OCD I have ever seen required the student to be hospitalized at a program like the Meninger Clinic in Texas, and then have a series of residential placements.  The child spent time at home getting services when he was unable to go out of the house, but his IEP eventually placed him at the Chamberlain School in Mass.  He had other complicating factors but he is graduating and he is getting both treatment and education via a residential school placement.  I worked with him from 4th grade through high school.  Another child obtained medical intervention at a specialized residential program, and was able to transition back to a private special education school, and eventually attend high school part time in his neighborhood. While he was attending the day programs, there was intensive intervention by therapists and parents before and after school.  The programs were approved and funded by the school district via his IEP.

Some parents elect to select a more outdoor/wilderness therapeutic setting.  But the key to whatever program is that you have proper evaluations by qualified professionals to tell you what your son needs. You should be sure any program has a medical and a psychological component, and employs a treatment intervention that is recommended by the doctors for your son.  Some programs use specific interventions for Anxiety Disorders.  For example, this clinic at Columia University seems similar to the Anxiety Disorder clinic at U of Maryland:


There are highly specialized and researched interventions for children with Anxiety Disorders.

Other parents we've worked with who keep the child enrolled in school without any special services, and then the child cannot attend school, can create a poor situation where the blame gets placed on the parents, and the school calls protective services and imposes consequences for the parent which can be serious.

So that is why I encouraged you to go through the special education process, whether you elect to obtain private evaluations or obtain a private placement at your own expense, or whether you try to obtain funding via another source.  

The first step is a proper set of evaluations.  The second step is to locate a proper placement, and then you will determine your funding options.  

Any child with a disability or a suspected disability, as in my previous answer, deserves an appropriate education. For some students, their educational needs are social and emotional, and less academic.  So again, I am not recommending you send your child to a harmful setting at school.  I am trying to help you see the options for getting him the assistance he needs and introducing you to the mechanisms for funding that I am aware of.  

I hope this follow up answer helps you.  I wish you the best as you continue advocating for your son, and I wish you much success!

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Michelle R. Davis, M. Ed.


I can answer questions about disability definitions and criteria for services, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 2004, No Child Left Behind, 504 plans, how to craft an IEP that drives the appropriate services, school placement, dispute options, and least restrictive environment. I worked in the public school system as a special educator and am now in private consulting practice where we assist parents as they navigate the special education process. I have expertise in all educational disabilities except blind/visual impairments and deaf/hard of hearing. This includes ADHD and other health impairments, medical conditions, dyslexia and learning disabilities, Autism, emotional disabilities, language processing problems, and interfering behaviors.


10 years as special educator and administrator in public school system; Director of ABCs for Life Success since 1998; Expert services such as analysis and testimony; Author: Special Needs Advocacy Resource Book: What you can do now to advocate for your exceptional child's education; Special Needs Advocacy Training Institute; internet radio show Teach Your Children Well: Hot Topics in Education; author School Success for Kids with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders released March 2010 (Prufrock Press).

Masters in Special Education with Emphasis on Inclusive Education (Johns Hopkins University); B.S.in Special Education (James Madison University); Conduct training for Universities, public and private schools, parent groups. Adjunct professor current George Washington University and prior George Mason University.

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