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ODD
Oppositional Defiance Disorder

...People just assume that we are not being good parents and that our child is a brat. When they don't know how truly exhausted we are.


S.C.

Every child can be stubborn and refuse to do what they're told from time to time - pushing boundaries and testing authority is part of growing up! But what happens when defiant, oppositional behaviour is severe, and becomes far more than "just a phase"? In these circumstances, it may be the case that a child warrants investigation to be diagnosed with oppositional defiance disorder (ODD).

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...People just assume that we are not being good parents and that our child is a brat. When they don't know how truly exhausted we are.


S.C.

What is ODD?

Oppositional Defiance Disorder is identified by a persistent and consistent refusal to obey rules, follow instructions, heed boundaries or show behavioural restraint. It's important to remember that ODD is characterised by defiant behaviour that's both extreme (it's not uncommon for sufferers of ODD to become violent towards others or themselves, and/or damage property when they don't get their way) and pervasive. The behaviour must have been in evidence for at least six months before an ODD diagnosis considered.

Causes of ODD

There are a number of different variables that may contribute to ODD. These may be divided into two categories: one category relates to external variables that affect the child as they grow; the other relates to brain chemistry, genetics and related issues that are part of the child's individual physiological make-up.

Biological factors include abnormalities in brain chemistry and other brain abnormalities triggered by birth trauma. There is also evidence that children with close family members who have been diagnosed with mental health problems may also be more at risk of developing ODD.

Social factors may include dysfunctional family life; parental substance abuse; neglect; failure to adequately address physical problems; and poor parenting (characterised by a failure to set clear boundaries, for example). There is some evidence that children with ODD tendencies may also be susceptible to peer pressure, causing them to misbehave.

In some cases, a cause can't be readily identified: some children just appear to have an ODD temperament!

ODD symptoms

Typical symptoms of ODD include:

  • Consistent refusal to obey instructions/rules/requests
  • Excessive irritability and outbursts of anger
  • Frequent arguments with people in authority
  • The child loses their temper frequently and experiences significant difficulty in calming down once they're upset
  • The child may have difficulty managing other emotions
  • Children may try to manipulate and control others.
  • Children with ODD may find it difficult to accept that their actions are within their control.

ODD is commonly found alongside other neuro-developmental issues, including ADHD and autism.

Living with ODD

Living with a child that suffers from ODD can be exhausting, frustrating and debilitating for parents and carers. It's important that families access support geared to every family member, not just the child who suffers from it. Early professional intervention is crucial, as appropriate input from psychologists and other therapists can make a significant difference to the child's ability to regulate their emotions. With the correct help, children with ODD can make progress towards learning greater self-regulation. In addition, parents can learn techniques that result in better compliance and a less stressful living environment.

With the right supports, the severity and frequency of ODD outbursts can decrease dramatically in many children.

 

the-child-is-angry

It is important if you suspect a child or loved one has or may be developing symptoms of Autism. Red flags to look for do not necessarily mean Autism however, they are there for a reason. We take these warnings seriously and consider all aspects before recommending further consultation with a specialised behaviour therapist or psychologist and a diagnosis can be confirmed one way or the other.

DO HEED THE WARNINGS SERIOUSLY AND GET YOUR CHILD CHECKED IF YOU SUSPECT ASC. EARLY INTERVENTION PROGRAMMES FOR AUTISM MEAN A BETTER OUTCOME FOR BUILDING AND DEVELOPING SKILLS LATER IN LIFE.

Supports for the whole family can help improve most autism disorders.

YOU CAN CHANGE THAT

CONTENT UPDATED: OCTOBER 2020