Every year at our Annual OCD Conference, I ask to help out in the “littles” room, where we plan a camp environment each year for kids aged 4–10. It’s always an exciting room, because many kids are newly diagnosed. There is always a ton of excitement as the kids meet each other, and a deep sense of relief as the parents make new friends and find a community of their own.
It’s an inspiring place, as we watch the courage of our youngest members dashing about, taking on challenges in a safe and supportive environment. They ask amazing questions, and bring a perspective all their own as they draw their OCD monsters or share a little about their challenges. Siblings often attend, and bring their own needs — wanting to learn more so they can support a brother or sister in the best way. Their passion to help is deeply evident. Everyone learns the basics about OCD, then has some silly fun, and then returns to learn to breathe in ways that can help their daily lives.
Then there are the new parents. This illness is often new to them, and they have so many questions. They are sometimes scared, often hopeful, and so thrilled to talk to others who are having a similar parenting experience. It always takes me back to the first year I was at the Conference, meeting the parents whom I still love dearly to this day — they are a part of our journey forever. (Hi ya’ll – miss you all the time). I watch the relationships forming in the halls and classrooms, and it makes me happy to see the community forming. Having the chance to help new parents is always the best part. In the last few years, I find that a lot of the parents want to talk to my 19-year-old daughter, Meg, about her journey. I think it’s because she gives them faith that their kids can conquer this challenging journey.
Well, we all know that 2020 was a year to remember and that we moved our Conference online. But we still haven’t had a Conference just for our youngest heroes and their fabulous parents. It’s time! All of us at the IOCDF are genuinely excited to announce that we are finally hosting an online conference for our kiddos (aged 4–10) and their families. We’ve been wanting to do this for months, but we had a ton of work to do on the programming to get it right for the kids. Here are some of the details:
- We are excited that the presenters include some really cool authors, like Aureen Wagner, who wrote the book Up and Down Worry Hill and who will be teaching us all about how to use a fear thermometer. Plus, Brian Wray will be reading Unraveling Rose, which won the 2017 INDIES award. After each of these sessions, we will be doing breakout rooms so the kids can talk more about the lessons in the books. Check out the full schedule, including the full list of presenters.
- Kids will have breakout rooms where they can meet new friends in their age group.
- Parents and siblings are welcome!
- Each afternoon, there will be sessions designed just for parents, where you can learn about parenting strategies for helping kids with OCD, and about how to be your child’s ERP coach.
- Plus, if you register by Jan 6th, a cool Camp Supplies Box will be shipped to your home!
We talked a lot about how to run this conference because we want to be sure that parents and kids leave with skills and language about OCD that they can use together. We hope you will make friends that will last a lifetime.
See you soon! I can’t wait 🙂
President, IOCDF Board of Directors
And mom of a fabulous teen!