Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Is OCD a Protected Disablity?

Is OCD a legal disability? Are there any job protections for it? Can it be written into a child’s IEP?

OCD definitely falls under the Americans with Disabilities Act. So when it comes to jobs, patients who have OCD are protected in the sense that they cannot be discriminated against for having that diagnosis — during the hiring process or afterward.

When it comes to an IEP, parents can definitely have accommodations written in — the exact accommodations depend mostly on what form of OCD the child has. If, for example, the child is taking notes and becomes obsessed with getting every single word the teacher says — making them miss a lot of the information — assign that student a “designated note taker” or ask the teacher to provide an outline at the end of every class. If you have another OCD child who reads every page of his textbook 20 times, audio books can be a helpful accommodation.

These accommodations don’t mean the child will stop working on these problems. If the OCD is so severe that it’s affecting their schoolwork, that child should definitely be receiving ERP (Exposure and Response Prevention Therapy). However, progress won’t happen instantly, and teachers and schools can help OCD children manage their anxiety and be at their best in the classroom.