Special Education/OCD home instruction

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Question
Hello,
My 9 year old has severe OCD. We cannot afford $200 a session for ERP. Anyone who claims to know it really doesn't and very few people treat it in young kids. And we live in a nice suburb. School is a disaster. They've done nothing. They want to put my son who is gifted in a class with kids who are way behind so as to not deal with it. I don't have a doctor  on my side because of money but I've talked to the  ped.  He's very sympathetic but can't really diagnose. My son can act totally normal if his obsessions are met. If not meltdown. I'm doing ERP in a gentle way but at school they don't listen and assume he's being intransigent if he doesn't comply. They say they understand it's OCD but also add that he knows what he's doing. Yes he does! But it's a compulsion. He won't even sit in his chair if someone else doesn't straighten it first. He refuses to go in the morning. I carry him to the bus. I really want to homeschool him with some home bound instruction . How can I go about this? He us unravelling at school and is so much happier at home. And I know I can help on his OCD too. I just cannot handle the workload as a working mom.  I wouldn't withhold treatment for my son but I cannot afford $2000 for an eval by the institute near me, the only one, dealing in childhood OCD. A regular neuropsych  is not what's needed. Plus I've been doing ERP with success. But because the school doesn't really do it, I've people working against my son. Like if I have him help me straighten something so he doesn't expect me to do it, and over time, do it less and then work on the straightening aspect, the school tries, my son gets upset and they give in. They boss him around instead of showing kindness and he won't do ERP there. I know it's not the schools job to treat my son but I'm doing all the teaching at home. He's not learning because of the OCD. They think he is because he's so smart and I sit with him two hours a day. I know he'd do well with 1:1 instruction and now I'm convinced school isn't the place for him right now.  My mortgage payment recently went up. My sons father is not working. I work so hard. I arranged to work to at home part time for my son and that means I stay up till 1am working. My son often wakes with worry so getting up for school is a huge struggle. He begs for more sleep. Weekends are more peaceful because he can sleep. I feel like a nervous wreck myself in the week and well on weekend. Which is why I'm considering keeping him home too.  We would both be far happier.  He's my only child and I truly love him. Please please advise. I do want to add I went to 2 drs on my insurance neither of whom treated OCD in kids and one who felt lit was like oppositional disorder. I couldn't take my son there. The dr really thought it was about whipping my son into shape, his words

Answer
Cara,

I am sorry to learn of your son's OCD challenges. You might consider having him evaluated by your state or city mental health agency. You should contact both the state and city Departments of Health (they both have web sites). They provide services for people with psychological challenges like OCD. They could decide to provide him with ERP services. Somehow you have to get these services for him. You might contact local universities to see if any of them are studying OCD in young people or if they know of clinical trials being conducted in your area. Sometimes there is a study that your son could participate in at no cost to you that will include ERP.

Schools usually want to take the easy way out whenever they can. I have found that schools are not equipped to deal with the OCD students I represent. They want to just categorize them as having Opposition Defiance and miss-treat them accordingly. You really do need a medical diagnosis to use to try to get the school to properly place him in classes with supports that meet his intellectual as well as OCD needs. This will be an uphill battle.

Home schooling is time consuming and will not address your son's needs for ERP. I recommend it only as a last resort.

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Tim Runner

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Questions concerning special education: IEP, assessments, Due Process, mediation, resolution conference, federal law, state law, qualifying for services, residential treatment, special day classes, resource specialists, procedures, having your child assessed, adaptive PE, speech & language, non-public school, FAPE, and tuition reimbursement.

Experience

I have been an education advocate representing students and parents for six years. My experience includes: representing my clients in IEPs, SSTs, Due Process, review assessment results for my clients, and mediations. I have represented clients with learning disabilities, autism, Downs Syndrome, cognitively challenged, emotional problems, learning disabilities, ADD/ADHD, and physical disabilities. I have also represented clients to County Mental Health Departments and Regional Centers. My clients range from pre-school to college students in many states.

Education/Credentials
I have a degree in Mathematics from the University of California with minors in Psychology and Physics. I also studied applied statistics in psychology at the graduate level. I have taught college classes, conducted seminars, written articles for various publications, and testified as an expert witness.

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