Payton is Afraid of Dirt

Do you have a child with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder? Check out this book, Payton is Afraid of Dirt.

Payton is Afraid of Dirt written by Shanna Simpson and illustrated by Idmary Hernandez tells the important story of a young boy struggling with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). As a speech language pathologist for almost 20 years, I have seen many children and adults with OCD. This can a very difficult and challenging disorder for both the individual and the family.

What is OCD?

According to the International Obsessive Compulsive Foundation (IOCF), “Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental health disorder that affects people of all ages and walks of life, and occurs when a person gets caught in a cycle of obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are unwanted, intrusive thoughts, images or urges that trigger intensely distressing feelings. Compulsions are behaviors an individual engages in to attempt to get rid of the obsessions and/or decrease his or her distress. Most people have obsessive thoughts and/or compulsive behaviors at some point in their lives, but that does not mean that we all have “some OCD.” In order for a diagnosis of obsessive compulsive disorder to be made, this cycle of obsessions and compulsions becomes so extreme that it consumes a lot of time and gets in the way of important activities that the person values.”

What is the book about?

The story begins with a description of Payton and his fears of becoming dirty or sick.  He washes himself in the kitchen and bathroom for a long time and becomes consumed with being clean. It begins to affect his daily activities such as playing baseball and bonding with friends. His family becomes worried and decides to take him to a psychiatrist who helps Payton understand his OCD and provide him helpful strategies to learn how to cope with the disorder. With Payton’s family support, he works hard to overcome this disorder throughout the book. 

I really enjoyed this book because I think it gives an accurate portrayal of OCD and the struggles that accompany the disorder. From struggling with the symptoms to seeing the doctor and working through the OCD, I think this book can help children diagnosed with OCD as well as family members and peers. I think this book can be an excellent tool in a classroom and can open up some wonderful discussions about Payton and how he worked through his internal struggles with the help of his doctors, family and peers. 

The author Shanna Simpson was diagnosed with OCD at age seven and wanted to share her experiences in this picture book, Payton is Afraid of Dirt.

To learn more about OCD, watch this short video

Payton is Afraid of Dirt (Future Horizons)

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