ODD Explained

March 4 2021

A new condition has been gaining more attention in our conversations about school and the behavior of students. Oppositional Defiance is becoming a way to describe students who are in the classroom and have obstinate behaviors toward people of authority or others in general. While this type of behavior can be one of the symptoms listed by professionals, like Johns Hopkins Medicine, as part of the diagnosis, Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) is a lot more complicated than “being opposed to authority.” 

In fact, this disorder is one that needs careful consideration from a Mental Health professional for the disorder to be diagnosed. As professionals in schools, we must remember to be careful about assigning both labels and assumptions about our students when it comes to this disorder. Just because the student is being resistant to correction or often has disagreements with others DOESN’T mean they have ODD. Take into consideration the stressors that may be going on in the student’s life and even trauma that has not been discussed before.

If you do have a student exhibiting oppositional behaviors or has the ODD diagnosis, there are some steps that you can take to provide a supportive environment for both you, the student, and others around.  Weareteachers.com offers a great list of ways to support these students and more information about these tips. These include:

 Giving the student space

  • Work toward De-escalation
  • Be Consistent.

Great news is that these are techniques you can use with any student, whether they have the ODD diagnosis or are just disagreeable in the classroom.

While behavioral modification is no substitute for medical intervention, incorporating these suggestions in the classroom and even home environment can lead to better behavioral outcomes for children and adolescents.


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