As for help; sitting still during a lesson

As a student in the School Counseling program, I understand
how a student’s diagnosis of Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) can impact
their education greatly if not dealt with early and effectively. According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, ODD is defined
as a child having a behavior pattern which displays disobedience, hostility,
and defiant behavior toward any authority figures. This means a child/teenager
diagnosed with ODD usually rebels, argues with adults, and refuses to obey
rules/regulations. They have a hard time controlling their temper which causes
angry and sometime violent outbursts.

            ODD can show up in a child at any age;
however, it is usually visible around age 9 or 10; parents and teachers can
detect demanding or stubborn at early
age. Dr. Anthony Kane
states in his article on Oppositional Defiant Disorder Treatment, the following negative attributes that can be detrimental to a child during the elementary grades
of pre-K to 6th
(ages of 4-11) are: low patience level in
waiting their turn or not being called on first; aggression during play when
want a toy or ball that another student has; their aggressiveness makes it
difficult for them to bond with other students; their behaviors are common whether at home, school, or any other
environment; problem with completing assignments, paying attention or asking
for help; sitting still during a lesson is difficult because they become restlessness; the defiance towards
adults is more open and blatant.

            During the Junior High/Middle School
grades 6th to 8th (ages 11-13), the behaviors seem to
intensify causing the child to have more of the following: difficulties with subjects because of non-interest or a total loss
of interest in school; relationships with other students on any level are poor or
non-existent; lying, stealing, and shoplifting on a regular basis for no reason;
skipping school, alcohol/drugs/sexual experimenting, running away to avoid
conflicts; because of undiagnosed ODD teenagers can suffer from low self-esteem
and depression.

            According
to the website www.aacap.org, by the time a child with ODD
reaches high school for 9th to 12th grades (ages 14-18), the
negative impact of ODD may have taken its toll on the child and
they have given into not going to school and either dropping out or being
expelled; the influential people in their lives are other delinquent students; they
no longer want to associate with peers of good standing or family members; criminal
behaviors such as stealing, shoplifting, alcohol and/or drug abuse, becomes
priority; low self-esteem, low self-confidence, and/or depression leads to
sexual promiscuity.

            Because the child with ODD spends
the majority of their day at school, the teachers, behavioral specialist and
administration have to learn how to deal with the meltdowns/outburst throughout
the day. In the article, 4 Tips for Teaching Students with
ODD, Crystal Rennicke suggests that teachers try techniques such as avoid
power struggles by staying out of that winless power struggles—don’t
argue and always be consistent because it keeps order. Second, give the student choices then walk away in order for
the student to have time to process and make a decision. Third,
Offer appropriate incentives for good
behavior. Do not use food but extra time on computer or being the teacher’s
helper for 30 minutes. Finally, get to know your entire student group(s) on
a personal level. Most student want to build a relationship with an adult they
respect and usually it is a teacher who helps them with problems or just
listens to them when they need to talk. This connection may
help the student understand their behavior and learn how to control it in the
future. When you start with simple conversations about things other than their
behavior issues (their interests or goals) they open up. Being a teacher I have
had several students with ODD and always seemed to connect with them either
through sports, art or cooking. Over time this enabled me to talk to them about
their behavior on their level and not like I was superior. Explaining to them
that their behavior will always lead to consequences they don’t like but it is
up to them to change it in order for their life to be better.  

            When looking at the family dynamic of a child with ODD, everyone in the
family is impacted by the negative behavior which can be overwhelming at any
age level. At the early stage of the diagnosis The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) suggests that parents participate
in a Parent Management Training Program to help understand how to manage their
child’s behavior. The AACAP also suggests the parents try a few
techniques such as giving
positive reinforcements and praise for cooperation. Second, pick battles to
avoid power struggles; use a soft positive voice to respond to
outbursts/meltdowns. The third technique is to make sure limits and
consequences are age appropriate in order to maintain consistency. Finally, DON’T
FORGET YOURSELF! Have a few interests outside the home that doesn’t involve your
child with ODD (or any of your children). Set up a support system when you a
time out in order to manage stress levels.

            The future life for a
child with ODD can have a few different outcomes. First, they may grow out of a
few (if not all) of the symptoms as they mature and become more responsible. However,
some children will suffer the consequences in their adulthood from ODD actions/behaviors
when they were younger. If treatment is not sought and used a diagnosis of ODD
can develop into a Conduct Disorder (CD) which is a more serious behavioral
disorder leading to the possibility of developing an antisocial personality
disorder in adulthood. Like a lot of mental disorders, it is important to
receive an early diagnosis from a trained mental health professional and start
a treatment plan that includes recognizing stressful events and how to handle
them before they are triggered into an outburst.