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School-Based Interventions : Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Interventions for Compulsions

  1. Allow the student to alter the work sequence

    If the student gets stuck doing problems in a certain way, allow the student to start with even numbers, or start from the end and work backwards to #1.
  2. Have the student identify and substitute less disruptive compulsive behaviors

    Allow the student to touch underneath the desk, flex fingers, or do versions of compulsions that are not disruptive to others.
  3. Allow the student to practice acceptable competing behaviors

    Allow the student to rub his/her cheek instead of pulling out his/her hair, or brush his/her hair instead of twisting it until it comes out.
  4. Use a timer to signal transitions

    Use a timer that goes off after 20 minutes to signal time to start a different task.
  5. Eliminate undesirable options

    If the student erases excessively, allow him/her to use a pencil without an eraser; or to only erase three times, or for three seconds.
  6. Allow the student to use a computer to complete written work

    If the student is frequently changing/erasing work, completing work on the computer may allow the student to do neater work.
  7. Provide an alternative schedule for the student to use when "stuck"

    Provide the student with a visual schedule or list to check off steps during tasks. top


  • Allow alternative ways of completing work

    If motor tics impede the student from writing or turning pages, allow the student to respond orally to questions. top

Specialized Instruction

  • If the student cannot stop a compulsion, have him/her intentionally practice/release the compulsion/tic at less disruptive times

    Allow the student to engage in rituals at prescribed times during recess or at lunch period.
  • Provide the student with competing responses to negative thoughts or behaviors

    Instead of the student going to the bathroom to wash his/her hands throughout the day, provide hand sanitizer for the student to use at his/her desk.
  • Help the student evaluate the evidence for his/her negative conclusions

    The student says "I can only walk on this side of the hall". Ask him/her: "What has happened when you have walked on the other side of the hall?" top

Behavioral Planning

  • Allow the student to work in a different area or different room when necessary

    When the student cannot control tics, allow him/her to go to less stimulating areas, and also where he/she will be less disruptive to others.
  • Allow alternative activities if the student cannot initiate a scheduled task

    When the student cannot do a task after three attempts, allow alternative assignments (type journal on computer vs. writing in journal book). top
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