Our Pediatric Outreach Program aims to reach not only kids and teens affected by OCD, but also their families, friends, fellow students, teachers, mental health professionals and pediatricians. The Pediatric Outreach Program has two primary components:
- Raising awareness and providing general education about OCD to families, school personnel, and the general public.
- Training professionals to effectively diagnose and treat pediatric OCD and related disorders.
Raising Awareness and Providing General Education
Our primary awareness raising and educational strategy is our www.ocdinkids.org website. On this website, kids, teens, parents, school professionals, mental health specialists and medical professionals will all find up-to-date information about pediatric OCD and treatment options. This information has been written by members of our Scientific and Clinical Advisory Board which is comprised of some of the leading pediatric OCD experts in the world. Soon to be added to our website is the revised and updated OCD in the Classroom kit, which will be a multi-component, digital, educational tool that anyone can use to educate students and school personnel about what it would mean for a child struggling with OCD while at school.
Again, in conjunction with some of the leading experts on pediatric OCD, we have also developed informational brochures, fact sheets, and FAQ’s about pediatric OCD and PANDAS/PANS. PANDAS/PANS are a subtype of pediatric OCD in which a child develops OCD following an infection.
We also ensure that pediatric OCD is well represented at our Annual OCD Conference. Our conference is unique in that individuals with the disorder, their family members, and professionals all attend the conference together and learn side-by-side. In 2014, we offered an intensive, half day, pre-conference pediatric OCD training, in addition to providing many workshops on pediatric OCD and a “mini-track” devoted entirely to PANDAS/PANS.
We know from research that one of the most effective ways to reduce stigma surrounding mental illness is to provide personal accounts of individuals both struggling with the disorder as well as triumphing over it. As such, the final piece of our awareness raising and educational initiatives include providing first hand accounts from kids, teens and parents which we post on our website, blog, and print in our newsletter.
Pediatric Trainings for Professionals
As part of the IOCDF Training Institute, we are expanding the continuing education and training opportunities in for health care professionals treating children and adolescents.
This fall, we are launching our “Pediatrician Partnership Program” to ensure that pediatricians (almost always the “front door” for families struggling with OCD) are up-to-date in their knowledge of how to properly assess, diagnose, and treat (including referring to a mental health professional) pediatric OCD and PANDAS/PANS. This will be a companion outreach program with our Pediatric Behavior Therapy Training Institute (BTTI) for mental health professionals. Launched in 2013, this comprehensive, 3-day training covers the specifics of assessment, diagnosis, and effective treatment for pediatric OCD. This training involves didactic presentations, small group consultation, and follow-up phone consultations.