A FALMOUTH mother has spoken out about the difficulties faced by her teenager son's obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
Martine Heartland wants to raise awareness of the condition which has led to 16-year-old Alexander quitting conventional schooling.
She said: "They say you have OCD if you are controlled by certain actions for more than an hour. Alexander is lucky if he gets an hour when he is not controlled by it."
The serious, anxiety-related condition leads to sufferers experiencing obsessional thoughts, often followed by repetitive compulsions, impulses or urges.
For Alexander, hygiene is a big issue, with showers often taking 90 minutes and ritualistic hand washing meaning he often refuses to touch anything.
Mrs Heartland said: "As an infant he had quirks but we thought he would grow out of them and at junior school we didn't really know anything about OCD."
The family moved to Cornwall when Alexander was 11 and he started Falmouth School, but in February it was agreed he should leave due to problems related to his OCD.
"The school have been amazing, but his condition went downhill," she said.
He was also diagnosed with borderline Asperger's syndrome, affecting motor skills, social interactions and fixed routines.
He is now tutored at home and has therapy sessions.
"He is a very strong person and determined it is not going to ruin things for him," said Mrs Heartland.
"But I do feel there should be more done in infant and junior schools to recognise the condition at an early stage.
"I feel my son had his education taken away from him."
They have support from OCD UK and Mrs Heartland has organised a charity gig at Falmouth Watersports Centre on November 2 at 7pm to raise funds for the charity.
It will feature bands, including Josie Ghost, The Bad Channels, Wild Zella, The Ascendants and Coyote Country. Entry is free with donations welcome.
For more information on the condition visit www.ocduk.org