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From the Republic of Panama:

My five-year-old son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes a year ago, and we've been adjusting quite well since then. He's an exceptional little boy, very intelligent, very cooperative and very demanding of himself, which is probably the main reason we've done so well. Also, I've tried to manage his diabetes in the most relaxed manner that the situation permits, without compromising good control, and as a family, we've confronted his diabetes with as much good humor and openness as possible.

However, for the last couple of months I have been noticing some definite compulsive behavior in my son. Sometimes it takes him 15-20 minutes to get his chair in just the right position to sit down and eat. At bedtime, he'll take just as long getting his pillow in the right position, and I've seen him spend hours fixing his shoelaces "just so", and even being reduced to tears when he wasn't satisfied with them.

My husband and I both wonder if in spite of the positive attitude and courage our son has shown, this compulsive behavior might be the result of internalized stress over his lack of control over his own body. It has us kind of scared, really. We are going to do our best to find someone that can help us locally, but we'd welcome any suggestions on how to deal with this behavior, and whether it might be diabetes-related.


It would be almost impossible for this situation to be assessed over the Internet. My hunch is that this admirable yet compulsive behavior may be independent of the diabetes. I would recommend a thorough assessment via a licensed therapist. Meanwhile, you might want to read the book, The Boy Who Couldn't Stop Washing and see if any of it fits.


Original posting 16 Sep 2000
Posted to Behavior


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:14
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