Classroom / teacher modifications for ODD


Managing ODD in the classroom (AKA as roping the wind )

There are many things that a teacher can do to avoid/diffuse meltdowns and ODD'ness in the classroom.

I will begin to list just some of the basics here and I suggest that you make a copy for your childs teacher and send it to them.

Often times this will be met with resistance especially with non-sped teachers because they say "its not my job".

Allow me to assure you that Congress "invited them to the party" with the reauthorization of IDEA 97 in that they said... MORE children must be mainstreamed.

This is an excellent format for any 504 plan you write, and must be adhered to for students who are behavior disordered.

* I write a 504 plan to compliment IEP'S.. so this is an example of what that looks like.

504 Accomadations for J--- ( an actual plan )
1) Parent will meet with all difficult child's teachers to present Parent Report and explain ODD, and its impact on their child.

* this should be done at beggining of year and should take at least 1 hour, all teachers must be in attendance, and should come prepared with materials to take notes, and ideas or input on what has worked/failed for them with difficult child.

2) Teacher will assess difficult child's mood and behavior as he enters classroom to determine "state" and observe any signs of agitation.

* The most important thing is to not be asleep at the wheel... often times teachers fail to even notice warning signs of impending meltdown, as they just get on with starting class, and overlook clues.

Remember difficult child has just passed class and was in contact with many triggers such as peers or perhaps are reminded that they dont have assignment done, and can be very anxious about class starting.

A quick assessment of body language can cue a sharp teacher to act quickly to divert trouble. Given the fact that safety is a huge concern to all.. this should not be limited to just difficult child.. but all students.
( wonder if anyone did this at Columbine? )

3. Inservice training will be provided to staff ( difficult child's teachers ) on non-confrontational techniques to utilize, and staff will be tested and acheive a 95% score or above on the test to determine competancy.

* this is actual language in a 504 that I recently wrote, and the teachers... 7 of them all passed.

4. A communication plan will be developed for staff, parent and difficult child. Good communication skills will be "modeled" for difficult child by staff & parents.

* this means no pissin matches in front of difficult child ever! If parent or staff dont like plans or ideas.. they dont "feed' dsipleasure to difficult child.

5.Parents and staff will model and promote appropriate self advocacy skills for difficult child, and encourage expression of feelings with out fear of retalliation.

* this means that if difficult child has a complaint that he will be taught how to "FIX it once Fix it WRITE" and that the complaint will be heard and responded to appropriatley.

If he feels a teacher or staff person is picking on him/her than he will be allowed to express that in a safe and reatalliation free environment. * staff & parent will model "mature" behavior, and readily admit shortcomings without excuses... or alibis*

If the complaint is about treatment at school difficult child will be assisted in writing state complaint.

* staff and parents will not defend, just accept and allow expression.


This is an actual 504 plan in place this year, and I am Happy to report that neither the student, staff or parents have had ANY problems thus far.

This is a big deal in this case where I was getting 4-5 calls per week on him last year.


Understanding ODD and its origins is important but caution should be excersised when educators look for reasons WHY a child has ODD.. Blame plays no role in this query whatsoever.

Far too often educators, simply diagnose ODD causation as BAD PARENTING. This is a myth and falacy in 99% of all cases.

It serves no purpose to even consider it and quite frankly works against any hope of success with student in the classroom.

An alignment with parents is critical to anything you may do, and failure to acheive this partnership will sabotage any ideas you may have.

* Its important to understand that parents are extremely sensitive about being blamed for their childs poor behavior... a reveiw of the parent report should demonstrate all that the parent has done to seek help and assistance for & with their child.

Furthermore... they have been at this longer than you, and may have their creative energies completly exhausted.

The basics in ODD classroom management are:


2.Affecting attitude

Escape means to "get away" or "get out of"...
and when your in a classroom full of children this may seem pretty tricky.

What it means in term of an ODD student is to "get away" from triggers that bring on the ODD.

And "get out of" old beleifs and habits that do so.

Ways to move towards ODD confrontations:

* responding quickly
* trying to "convince"
* threatning
* raising the stakes
* create an audiance
* keep it going for long time
* using sarcasm, anger etc.
* bribes
* "cutting" the difficult child with words

Ways to move away from ODD confrontations:

* simple, direct choices
* follow the pre-determined plan
* listening
* breif and direct responses
* private at all costs
* walking away

Now evaluate your self and track your progress... do a report card for your self!

Did you buy into the struggle or did you just "window shop"?

When you are done with your evaluation.. share it with some one else... another teacher perhaps or administartion who is struggluing with these issues them selves.

Orrrrrrrrr..... be really pro-active and give the parent a call and tell them of your shortcomings and success in a situation and you may find that not only have they tried that but that when they did it.. "it turned out like this".. this is called "sharing"... unique concept that somehow teachers and parents have lost the ability to do.

Affecting attitude:

This is where it gets real tricky.. most difficult child's are pretty savvy when it comes to attempts at positive reinforcement.. and you must understand the they need to "save face" with their quality of ODD'ness and will reject positive strokes cause they think they are being "played".

So this will make them "on guard" even more.. if they think you are trying to "control" them by "strokes"!

Thus ... they get even more determined to "outsmart" you and sabotage your game before the first quarter!!!

So without the fanfare that works very well for other students you must give them the positive stuff also.

Just gotta "sneak" it past them is all!

1. Whisper it as you pass them ... "hey nice work there" or "love the dreadlocks"... be breif and sincere.. plan your shot early and be determined to fire it as soon as you can.

2. Notes... wow this can do alot.. a simple note left somewhere for difficult child to discover and the fun for you is in finding cool hiding spots for it. * imagine difficult child finding a note from you inside his 9 page outline for his science project...*

Most people have done secret pals.. and the fun was in leaving the surprise with-o being discovered. Same concept.

Flash cards... I love this variation!!!

Emotion flash cards.. kept in a pocket or on a clip board... small and discreet are the keys to this.

Make a "level of emotion flash cards... 1-5 works great...

Start with

Thrilled... and use it very very sparingly.
difficult child should not see this except when its really something very big.

Happy... this should express your contentment with difficult child simply doing whats expected and with some effort.

Encouragement.. this should be cmon.. you can do this I know you can.. and should be used often.

Concern.. this should be flashed when difficult child is beggining to show signs and to "open the door" for difficult child to talk to you if needed.

Disapointment... use this when difficult child makes an inappropriate comment during class discussion.. a "cue card" that your unhappy with something they are doing.

Now the way to use them... these should be small... palm size if neccesary... and should be very casually flashed to students when appropriate.

Color coding works very well... and if difficult child is placed properly in your class ( near where you give lessons ) and way from distractors.. only they will see it.

* plan in advance to explain these flash cards to difficult child.. this will be a part of your written plan to avoid confrontations.

This works very well for student who are ADD, ADHD, and have processing deficits or reading difficulty.

Flash cards dont have to used you can develop a secret system with difficult child and parents in advance if you like.

* small plastic figurines on your desk work
* color mood charts... with slide to indicate color ( very discreet )
* hand signals
* audible signals like morse code
* anything thats just b/t you and difficult child

2 Rules for success:

1. When difficult child is nuetral or positive you should be positive and engaging, offering encouraging feedback and instruction.

2. When difficult child is negative, you should be nuetral ( emotionless ) and business like.. and follow through on pre-determined plans and consequences.

It takes a great deal of tolerance to not "buy" into confrontations... but the cost of buying can bankrupt any plan or class.

Recognize the Stages of anger:
* irritation
* agitation
* loss of control
* resolution

Do's and Dont's with ANGRY difficult child:

* use students name
* remove the audiance
* use humor to de-escalte
* double your distance
* attempt to distract
* minimize discussion ( not a time to "process"... just allow cool down )

* touch the difficult child
* raise your voice
* threaten consequences
* point your finger
* crowd the student
* feed the rage fuel

Watch your own body language!!!

* are you giving personal space?
* hows your posture.. firm and rigid or relaxed?
* eye contact... are you avoiding or engaging and asking to help?

Take inventory of your thoughts:

* are you concentrating or annoyed?

* are you reacting to your plans for the day and left over resenentment about previous failed plans?


* calm voice

* slow cadence repeating calmly directions and support.

* communicate your confidence in difficult child to bring it back

Time out!!!

LOL this is where so many rigid school rules really fail.

Time out MUST get creative.. and MUST involve being:

* reasonable
* respectful
* fair

Sending difficult child to principals office to "fully report" his failure does nothing short of lighting the fuse and adding insult to injury.

Sending them to the School Prison or the land of lepers only exascerbates the already low self esteem that the difficult child has for him/her self.

So by knowing this in advance a plan MUST be developed wit all involved to accomadate difficult child's predictable meltdowns!!!!

They must be anticipated and plans made to fully adrress them.

Not a single teacher that I have ever met would send a child with a bladder disorder to either of these places when his/her bladder failed!!!

So why on earth do we persist in doing so to a behavior disordered child?

It doesnt work!

Never has!

Never will!

This is where you must get creative..

In my sons behavior plan... * remember indidvidual is first word in IDEA... he walks it off!

He is 11, and he gets a walking pass, and is respected enough to bring himself under control, and return when he is "composed"... he has only done it twice, but his self confidence doubled each time.

Eventually he will bring himself under control in his seat.

His teacher "notices" the impending meltdown ( thru her assesment of him ) and gives him an errand to run for her. ** hint hint ** wink wink ** She doesnt "out" him in front of class.

He is handed his plan and reads it on his own in hall walking and follows it.

I will:

1. Will walk fast not run down halls a,b,c.
2. Will not stop to look in classrooms or talk to students or staff in halls.
3. Will walk until "icky" feeling is gone.
4. Will think about breathing and remeber to do breathing excersises.
5. Will return to class with smile, return pass to teacher and take seat as quietly as possible.
6. Will talk to teacher as soon as possible about "icky" feeling and where it came from.

This works for him!

And modifications of this can work for any child.

Allowing them to maintain dignity and self respect are the key.

54 Classroom modifications to insure
success at school!

* I found this in my old stuff.. its from
" reducing the deficit" Frank & Smith 1996.


* This should be simply copied and attached to every IEP and 504 plan!


* near teachers desk or instruction point
* surround with good role models
* avoid areas with distractions
* dont isolate or put in leper land
* reduce stimuli area for working
* neat orderly rows of desks


* establish clear & observable rules
* reveiw rules regularly
* reinforce positive behavior
* offer positive incentives
* change incentives often
* determine consequences consitently & with-o emotion
* maintain daily consistency and warn or alert difficult child of changes
* Strong supportive communication back and forth with parents
* include & involve difficult child in setting rules and consequences


* provide outline or key
* make them breif & broken up
* include variety of activities
* activley involve difficult child during class
* keep eye contact with difficult child during instruction
* be near student during instruction
* behavorial cues ( flash cards etc)
* use visuals to keep attention


* be consistent with daily instructions
* avoid multiple commands
* breif and clear
* repeat in calm positive manner
* check for understanding
* encourage and seek ways for difficult child to ask for help
* use computer to assist in written work if needed
* incorporate cooperative learning skills
* utilize peer tutoring or allow difficult child to tutor
* monitor frequently, then reduce
* allow headphones to be used to block out noise


* abbreviate assignments
* increase work time allowance
* highlight key directional words
* re-write directions at difficult child's level
* reduce quantity of "busy work" problems
* small group learning
* provide manipulative objects for fidgets
* tape records materials
* read orally if possible or needed
* use daily assignment sheets
* write assignments on chalk board


* use dark black print
* write clear simple directions
* underline or highlight key directions
* provide practise tests
* divide test into sections
* test orally or tape record tests
* frequent short quizzes
* provide quiet traffic free are for tests

None of these modification lower standards, yet can help students experience more success and better tolerance for educaction.

Look here for more updates in next few days!

Hugs N Love!!!


5 kids 21,19,18,14& 11.
21 yo M difficult child moved & is engaged!
18 yo M difficult child is not in jail yet but bought his advance ticket! And 11 yo M difficult child/easy child is in remission??! Doing super!
No medications.. have tried acupuncture with- good results.Founder PRIE: Parents Rights In Education, volunteer parent advocate.
Motto: " Sometimes all thats left is tears to honor the bond.... I cry with honor "
Creed: " A pen and a voice for the "Bad Kid"!!"
" Giftedness has NOTHING to do with eligibility!!!"
" Mr. Chaos stopped by last week and liked the accomodations so well he wont leave! "
Top 2 Questions:
1. Have you done a Parent Report?
2. Did you Fix it once Fix it WRITE?

[This message has been edited by Jerri (edited 10-03-1999).]

[This message has been edited by Jerri (edited 10-03-1999).]

[This message has been edited by Jerri (edited 10-03-1999).]

[This message has been edited by Jerri (edited 10-03-1999).]