Expert in Vancouver to talk to teachers about how OCD affects students

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – A world-renowned expert on obsessive-compulsive disorder is in Vancouver, set to share his expertise with teachers and counsellors.

Dr. Alec Pollard says between one and two per cent of kids suffer from OCD. He says OCD can be obvious in some kids, while other kids suffer in silence.

“There are hints; there are certain clues that teachers and counsellors need to know about so they can pick up on it and not just think that the child is a bad student, or willful, or non-cooperative, but understand that these are very, very strong emotions driving the behaviour of these kids.”

He’ll be talking about how people in schools can identify the disorder in students and about treatment options. “We’ll also talk about, ultimately, reasonable accommodations that can be made for kids with OCD.”

One example is giving a student some extra time to finish a test.

Pollard says he was originally coming to Vancouver to speak to therapists over the weekend, but was asked to also speak with people who work in schools.

He adds the World Health Organization has said OCD is one of the top ten most disabling medical conditions.

“They’re tortured by obsessions and anxieties, and then, in order to deal with those things, they often avoid the thing they’re afraid of and if that doesn’t work, they engage in what are called compulsions; compulsions are the things they do to try to relieve their anxiety. They may get some temporary relief, but of course, it just prolongs the condition and the disorder.”

Pollard is the director of the Center for OCD and Anxiety Related Disorders at St. Louis Behavioural Medicine Institute in St. Louis, Missouri. He’s also a professor of family and community medicine at St. Louis University.