Although some form of defiant behaviour is natural in children, there is a marked difference between typical behaviour, when a child is testing boundaries, and the condition referred to as Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). Oppositional Defiant Disorder is described as an ongoing pattern of disobedient, hostile and defiant behaviour toward authority figures which goes beyond the bounds of typical childhood behaviour.
Unlike other behavioural disorders in older children and teenagers, ODD is typically seen in children younger than nine years old. A full diagnosis will separate the more severe ODD from what could be termed as typical defiance or stubbornness. Once you have an accurate diagnosis for your child, a pro-active course of interventions, tailored to your child’s specific child’s needs, can begin.
Does my child have ODD?
There are two settings in which a child’s challenging behaviour is particularly noticeable – at home and at school. Occasional outbursts are to be expected with any child, but if a pattern of disruptive behaviour starts to emerge, further investigation as to the root cause of these outbursts is warranted, particularly if the child’s actions cause them difficulty in everyday functioning or in relating to their social group.
If your child has ODD he or she may display some of the following persistent behaviours:
- Frequent and/or extreme temper tantrums
- A blatant refusal to comply with household or school rules
- An argumentative stance with adults and authority figures
- Violent and aggressive communication with a limited range of positive expression ability
- Deliberate attempts to upset others, both physically and verbally
- A rude, uncooperative and confrontational attitude
The symptoms of ODD can be found in children with other disorders such as Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, as well as in children suffering with anxiety, bipolar disorder and depression.
What causes ODD?
The exact causes of ODD have yet to be determined, as human behavioural studies of aggressive or disruptive behaviour have shown that there are a wide range of trigger points that may instigate a pattern of aggressive behaviour. Some studies are exploring the possibility of a biological trigger, suggesting that overtly aggressive or defiant behaviour may run in families.
Helping your child with ODD
Verbal communication is at the forefront of any form of treatment for ODD. Most of the children with ODD we work with, are frustrated in their lack of ability to communicate their needs to other children or adults. There can often be a specific language component which a child has not developed, which can go unnoticed by parents and even by the professionals who are working with your child .
It is this frustration that can often lead to aggressive outbursts. By targeting behaviour and communication, Verbal Behaviour can reset boundaries and raise the levels of communication available to the child so that they do not have to resort to negative or aggressive communication techniques.
Behavioural therapy can also help children with ODD to increase their problem-solving skills while learning to interact more positively with their peers and authority figures such as teachers and parents. As they learn to adapt their use of language to a less confrontational level, their feelings of frustration at not being understood will diminish and a tendency to resort to aggressive or over-emotional behaviour will reduce.
It is also critical to equip those in the child's environment with the strategies they need when defiant behaviours do occur. By learning procedures, grounded in behaviour analysis and implementing them consistently, adults will see a marked difference in their interactions with the child.
Our team of highly trained Behaviour Analysts and psychologists have years of experience of successful interventions with children with ODD. Working closely with your child, family and others who are involved with your child will enable your child to make great gains and reach his or her unique potential.
We will equip you as parents with the tools to teach your child to achieve success; this includes helping replace negative, harmful or inappropriate behaviours with healthy, positive and age appropriate behaviour patterns.
What results can I expect?
Many of the children we have worked with have made remarkable progress – and in most cases a child with ODD can overcome all of the symptoms and behaviours associated with ODD.
Having worked with many families affected by ODD, we understand the impact that ODD can have on your whole family. Our whole family approach means that we never work with a child in isolation; the interventions we design for your child will take into account your family situation and the needs and challenges facing the whole family.
NETwork Interventions will work closely with your child and their peers, as well as with your family and your child’s school, helping them understand ODD and apply ABA principles to teach missing skills and help your child replace negative behaviour patterns. Your child’s programme will also equip him or her to learn to express emotions, needs and wants in a more positive and socially acceptable way, by identifying and targeting the trigger points that cause the initial outbursts.
Did you know?
The vast majority of children we have worked with over the years have successfully replaced all of the problem behaviours and symptoms associated with ODD. In many cases, by identifying the specific skills a child is lacking and teaching the child to learn those missing skills, the frustration and behavioural problems associated with ODD automatically resolve themselves.