If you have noticed that your child or teenager has a behavioural problem or if you have been advised to seek help for your child because there is concern that they may have ODD - Oppositional Defiant Disorder – we will be able to help.
ODD is a behavioural disorder and most commonly diagnosed in the under 10’s. ODD is a term used to describe children who display pervasive anger, irritability and seemingly cruel or vindictive behaviours which cause a significant impact on the young person’s life.
Children as young as 5 can be diagnosed with ODD - some would even say a diagnosis is possible as early as 31.
1 Steiner, H., et al (2007)
There are several common symptoms that indicate your child may have ODD. These can be considered to fall within three categories2.
Losing their temper
Being easily annoyed or overly touchy
Often being angry / having tantrums or meltdowns
2) Hurtful behaviour
Deliberately annoying others / winding people up
Blaming others for their mistakes
Showing spiteful or vindictive behaviours
3) Being Headstrong
Defying requests made by adults
Arguing with people in authority/adults
Whilst all children will, at some stage, display some or all of the above behaviours (it’s a natural part of growing up), to meet the diagnostic criteria for ODD, a child or teenager needs to display these behaviours for 6 months or more.
Some children will display these behavioural signs daily, others on a weekly basis – what is important for the ODD diagnosis is that the behaviours persist and happen frequently (weekly as a minimum is a good guide). Another key element of the diagnosis of ODD is the degree of impact these behaviours have on the child’s life.
Some children with ODD will only display these behaviours in one setting – which is normally the home environment. This is because it is at home that they are most likely to achieve the desired outcome – often these behaviours are less prevalent at school because things are more out of their control.
Children with severe ODD will behave in these ways in a variety of settings and with a higher frequency.
The service has been brilliant. We couldn’t have asked for more. Right from the initial enquiry all the way through to diagnosis and clinical support. I would wholeheartedly recommend Clinical Partners and their service to any family.
We know that early intervention is the most effective way of preventing the behaviours of ODD from escalating. Many parents hope their child’s behaviour is just a phase or might be reluctant to seek help because of shame or embarrassment; however behavioural problems are very common, and treatment can make a real difference to your child’s life.
The benefits of seeking help for ODD:
Assessment of ODD
It can be difficult to know if your child has ODD or another mental health condition that is causing their behavioural problems.
A Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist is the best person to assess your child and will spend time understanding if there are other underlying conditions.
As they are experts in child mental health, they will be able to formulate an effective treatment plan, which can significantly improve things for both your child and your whole family.
It might seem a bit scary getting a diagnosis, many of us are loathe to ‘label’ our children – however, we hear from parents every day who describe huge relief at having an explanation for their child’s behaviour and recommendations on how to help their child going forward.
A diagnosis can, therefore, be incredibly helpful in terms of both increased understanding, but also an ability to communicate to others why their child behaves as they do – which can ensure that children have the necessary provision put in place at school.