Strategies for Students with ODD

January 13 2021

Many of you have probably heard of Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD).  According to the Mayoclinic website: “Signs of ODD generally begin during preschool years. Sometimes ODD may develop later, but almost always before the early teen years. These behaviors cause significant impairment with family, social activities, school and work. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association, lists criteria for diagnosing ODD. The DSM-5 criteria include emotional and behavioral symptoms that last at least six months…angry and irritable mood, argumentative and defiant behavior and vindictiveness.”


In case you didn’t notice, the symptoms of ODD are eerily similar to how trauma sometimes manifests in children and teenagers.  In fact, there are probably many instances in which trauma is incorrectly diagnosed as ODD.  The graphic below (taken from this website) provides strategies to help a child with oppositional behaviors and you may notice that these same strategies are the foundation of most trauma-informed modalities. 


Many oppositional and defiant-like behaviors can be improved by looking at them through a trauma-informed lens.  If you don’t have a good understanding of trauma, one place to start is by looking into Trust-Based Relational Intervention or TBRI.  TBRI utilizes the same concepts represented on the graphic below and having an understanding of trauma can give you the tools you need to work through a multitude of behaviors from the youth you work with.  If you haven’t been trained in TBRI and are interested in learning more about it, feel free to reach out!


This website may provide you with some more strategies to use in a classroom setting when working with children exhibiting challenging behaviors.  

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