Alphabet Soup

It started with the drain.

A couple of weeks ago, Ryan became obsessed with yanking the drain stopper out of the bathroom sink. We kept telling him to leave the drain alone, but that made him all the more insistent that the stopper had to come out.

Then, Ryan started closing the drain tightly before washing his hands. He would let the sink fill with soapy water while he washed, and then walk away from the full sink without allowing the water to drain out.

Last week, while doing things that had nothing to do with the bathroom (as far as I could tell), Ryan started a new weird behavior: he would dash out of the room, run to the bathroom, slam the toilet lid closed, and run back to finish whatever he had been doing. Sometimes he would order Stu or me to stop whatever we were doing and open the toilet so he could close it.

These orders and behaviors later extended to both our bathrooms. As it stands now, at seemingly-random times, Ryan will get agitated and insist that both toilets, both sink drains, and both bathroom doors must be closed. And at other times, he won’t care at all about these things – if he’s actually using the bathroom, it’s just as likely that when he’s done he’ll leave the toilet and door open (but the drain still stays shut).

And over the last couple of days, Ryan has started throwing things into the toilet before slamming the lid – a plastic box of wet wipes, his own foot…

So I’ve started reading up on pediatric obsessive-compulsive disorder. It seems that OCD and ASDs are often comorbid. One interesting note, according to Dr. James Copland: “People with OCD usually feel uncomfortable with their symptoms, and would like to be rid of them, whereas people with ASD usually are not bothered by their obsessions, and in fact may embrace them.”

The treatment options are behavior therapy (which Ryan already gets at school), and/or SSRIs. Oh, the irony – fetal exposure to SSRIs may cause a need for later use of SSRIs… I guess this makes sense: if a fetus is discouraged from developing a normal way of shuttling seratonin around the brain, it will develop into a child that can not deal with seratonin normally.

I really, really hope Ryan isn’t displaying symptoms of OCD. I don’t need any more alphabet soup in this house.

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Meredith Zolty
My kid is great! And he has PDD-NOS and ADHD (e-i-e-i-o). The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Watch us navigate the world of neurodiversity at
Meredith Zolty


My kid is great! And he has PDD-NOS and ADHD (e-i-e-i-o). The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Watch us navigate the world of neurodiversity at

0 thoughts on “Alphabet Soup

  • July 18, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    @Barbara Lester – Thanks for that. Upon further observation, I’ve decided it’s likely he’s just testing me. I can think of no better explanation as to why all our toothbrushes, the wet wipes, and a step stool have ended up in the toilet over the last few days. But the business of touching his feet is another matter I’ll be watching…

  • July 15, 2011 at 10:39 pm


    Just wanted you to know that for OCD in children, the requirement is not there in the criteria that the child is uncomfortable with their symptoms – that criteria is only for adults. Also, regardless of whether we call this OCD or if it is just part of the ASD, how you would address it would be similar…..


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