Happy Learners - Oppositional Defiant Disorder

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Opposition Defiant Disorder (ODD)

Please read the ODD diagnosis page for more information about the condition and behaviours associated with the condition.


General Strategies

Be firm, fair and flexible

Allow them to ‘save face’. Avoid an audience

Focus on the current issue. Avoid bringing up past behaviour

Allow opportunity for their say

Offer choices

Use distraction to deescalate situations before they explode.

Refer to rights and responsibilities. This is best achieved by having a visual resource at home and at school.

Use behaviour contracts at home and school. See parent resources for home behaviour contract.

Work as a team. Try to be consistent in expectations, rewards and sanctions. At home between parents. At school, ensure all staff use the same approach.

Be aware of body language. Try to avoid confrontational body language.

Praise compliant behaviour

Provide immediate feedback about behavioural choices



Strategies For Parents

Parents need to work together to be consistent in the rules and boundaries they set. There also must be consistency between parents in the giving of rewards and sanctions in response to behaviours

Parents must try to remain calm and positive when faced with provocation - use 'time out' strategy to try and diffuse situations: 'I think we all need some time to ourselves'

Using clear visual rules can help as they reinforce rules more emotionally neutrally than spoken communication.

Avoid issuing specific sanctions straight away - better to state that there will be a consequence and that 'you'll think about it'

Parenting courses can be highly effective in helping to develop consistent approaches in the management of behaviours



Strategies For Schools

Holistic approaches which identify and support other co-morbid needs such as learning, peer conflict as well as impact of social economic factors

Support with emotional regulation

Individual reward systems based on reward that agreed with thestudent.

Frequently give praise and reward for effort rather than just achievement - sometimes this needs to be given in discreet manner

Use of an 'Escape Card' giving the child or student the opportunity to leave situations before 'outbursts' occur

Anger management strategies - use of emotional rating scales - emotional literacy for processing complex emotions - calming techniques

Seated next to good role models

Seated away from distractions and high 'footfalls' areas of the classroom

Clear rules and expectation communicated in a visual format that are consistently and fairly applied by all staff

Frequent movement breaks

Opportunities to take on areas of responsibility and enhance their sense of worth

Social skills training

Opportunities to lead in learning contexts that are areas of strength

Use peer support to help with areas of weakness

Behaviour Support Plan with clear SMART targets agreed with student and parents

Students with ODD can benefit from intervention to develop problem solving skills.


You may also be interested in the following pages:

Miscellaneous Parenting Resources

Reward Systems

School Rules