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With just three weeks to go, the IOCDF staff is more excited than ever for the 22nd Annual OCD Conference later this month. We can’t wait to welcome you all to our hometown of Boston, MA, including the youngest members of our OCD community — kids and teens.

You may be wondering what, if anything, children or teens can possibly get out of attending the Annual OCD Conference. Whether someone is 4 years old or 18 years old, there is something fun for everyone! Read on to get a sense of what kids and teens can expect from their time at the Conference.

Learn more at a talk in the Kids & Teens Track

GirlLookingOverShoulderChiRECOMMENDED FOR: Kids and teens of all ages.

There is an entire track of talks dedicated exclusively to kids and teens on all three days of the Conference. Presenters in this track have created their talks specifically with kids and teens in mind, so youth of all ages will be sure to have a great time.

This year’s talks will help kids take back their bathroom habits, learn tools from acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), use mobile apps in their recovery process, and maintain their successes after treatment.

For teens, workshops will focus on how to manage your social life, tricks from ACT, tips to stay motivated for recovery, and success stories from other teens.

For all ages, be sure to check out OCDisney! during the Keynote on Saturday morning, where everyone can learn about and discuss their own experiences with OCD by relating it to well-known Disney and Pixar characters.

Older teens may also be interested in attending talks in the Young Adult track on Friday, July 31st. In these talks, topics such as becoming independent, navigating school, dealing with anger, and conquering personal stigma will be covered. The track will end with a support group in the evening after workshops have finished for the day.

Get inspired in the Kids Art Therapy Room + Teens Art Studio & LoungeGirlLaughingWithSprinklesLA

RECOMMENDED FOR: Kids and teens of all ages.

The Kids Art Therapy Room and the Teens Art Studio & Lounge are open at the same time as workshops on all three days of the Conference. These rooms are great places to engage with the Conference in a more creative, interactive way than simply attending a session. Run by trained art therapists, each room will provide a chance for kids and teens to have some artistic, hands-on fun.

Highlights this year include making masks, instruments, and costumes for the OCD Parade, cooking with the hotel chefs, hanging out with therapy dogs, working with Argentinian pop star and IOCDF spokesperson Ro Vitale to learn and perform her song “My Inspiration,” and practicing yoga and other relaxation techniques. Parents of kids younger than 12 years old will be asked to sign a release and leave their contact information when they first bring a child to the room.

Break the ice at Thursday night’s Teen Support Group

RECOMMENDED FOR: Tweens, older teens.

Whether this is your first Conference or your fifth, going to that first activity can always be slightly scary, especially for younger attendees who may not feel comfortable or be used to disclosing or talking about OCD. What better way, then, to kick off the Conference than with a support group just for teens on Thursday night? The group will run from 6:30pm – 7:30pm. Stop by to meet other teens and get your Conference weekend started on a positive, supportive note!

Indulge in fun evening activities 

Evening activities for kids

ElevatorButtonsLARECOMMENDED FOR: Young children, elementary-aged children, tweens.

The fun doesn’t stop after the workshops end! Nighttime is the prime time for fun activities. On Thursday, kids can participate in “OCD: The Game Show,” a fun and informative activity to kick start the Conference weekend by making new friends and teaming up to play a fun game show. Kids and their parents can then unwind with “OCD Storytelling,” listening to stories and learning how to create their own.

On Friday, the OCD Scavenger Hunt will have kids exploring the Conference hotel and racing to be the first to complete a list of tasks with their new friends. Finally, kids will be able to get funky on Saturday night strutting their stuff and singing their hearts out as part of the 7th Annual IOCDF Fashion Show and Karaoke.

Evening Activities for TeensYogaLA1

RECOMMENDED FOR: Tweens, older teens.

After a great day of attending workshops and/or creating in the Teens Art Studio & Lounge, teens can keep the good times rolling by attending an evening activity (or several!). On Thursday night (after the Teen Support Group!), teens can watch fantastic performances at the Louder Than OCD Cabaret,” which also includes a chance to participate in a few group musical exercises and show off their skills at an open mic jam session. On Friday night, teens can shake off their day with some outdoor yoga on the hotel lawn.

Friday also offers a wide variety of support groups that may be of interest to teens, as well as the International OCD Film & Animation Festival. More adventurous teens can choose to participate in Virtual Camping: The 15th Annual Road to Recovery Tour and see themselves, their OCD, and the city of Boston in a way they might never have imagined. On Saturday night, teens are also welcome to take the catwalk or the mic at the 7th Annual IOCDF Fashion Show and Karaoke. And finally, teens can also challenge their new Conference friends to a game of ping pong at Ping Pong 4 OCD.

As you can see, the hard part won’t be finding something for kids and teens to do at the Conference. Instead, it will be picking just one thing at a time from all the great offerings! In our opinion, you can’t choose wrong, since all of the activities above are sure to be a good time. For more information about any of the events described above, please visit www.ocd2015.org. See you soon!

6 Comments

  • Ann Wiren

    Are parents allowed to accompany our teens in the art studio, and events geared toward teens? Mine doesn’t want to be without me.

    Reply
    • Stephanie Cogen

      Hi Ann, thanks for your question! Parents are allowed to accompany their teens to almost all the activities described in this post. The only exceptions are the Teen Support Group and the Teens Art Studio & Lounge, both of which are limited to just teen attendance and participation.

      If your teen is interested in the Art Studio & Lounge but hesitant to go without you, there will be a Meet & Greet with the Art Therapists on Thursday night from 4:00pm – 5:00pm where you both could visit the room together. Then, if your teen felt comfortable enough, they could go on their own later on in the Conference weekend.

      Once you’ve checked in at the Conference, you will receive a welcome bag with lots of materials and information to help you get the most out of your time with us. One of these materials is called the Program Guide, which describes the who, what, where, and when of everything taking place at the Conference. I would recommend sitting down with your teen and using the Program Guide to read more about all the talks, events, and activities together to help plan out your time at the Conference.

      Looking forward to seeing you there!

      Reply
  • Marie

    I am a teen with OCD. My sister does not have it. Is there anything that she could do during this conference? I would love for her to know more about OCD.

    Reply
    • Carly Bourne
      Carly Bourne

      Hi Marie-

      Yes, we have many activities and workshops for family members and loved ones for them to understand the disorder that your sister could attend. She can also attend any of the teen talks with you. Check out the “Everyone” track, as well as “Parents & Families” tracks, in addition to the “Kids & Teens” tracks. Feel free to call or email the IOCDF office if you have more questions: 617-973-5801 or info@iocdf.org.

      Reply
  • Amanda

    I am actually 25 and struggle with OCD. Is there a conference for adults with this disorder? It’d be nice to get help and to bring our families to learn more about the disorder.

    Reply
    • Carly Bourne
      Carly Bourne

      Hi Amanda- Yes! The kids and teens track is just a small part of Annual OCD Conference, which primarily features presentations, workshops, and events for adults with OCD and their family members. Take a look at the Everyone track, the Individuals with OCD track, and the Families track for a schedule of workshops that you may be interested in: http://ocd2015.sched.org/

      Reply

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