How do I help ODD child?


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New to Group

I have a 9 year old son who is having a lot of problems. I am currently trying to find a therapist that doesn't automatically want to put him on medication. His behavior is, for the most part fine at home, but we do still see the outbursts. I am more concerened about school. He comes home almost daily telling me how all the kids are picking on him and how he can't take it so he blows up. I have now learned to warn his classroom teachers about what his behavior is like when he gets mad or stressed out or just doesn't like whats going on. Today he came home and asked if the before-care program had called me because he got into a fight with another child, so he stormed out of the room and tried running around the school. This has been going on for about 3 years and I just cannot believe that every other child in this world is against my son. I just don't get told what he did to either bring on the circumstances or at least encourage them. I have been researching all of his behaviors as best I can, and have noticed that all of his 'symtoms' match the ones for ODD. I know there are other parents out there with these problems, and I was just wondering if this whole 'everyone hates me, picks on me, I can't stand this anymore' thing can get better, and what I need to do to help him. Thanks to anyone that can help.


New Member
first welcome to the boards.
second - you may want to repost this under the general boards, you'll get more of a response and help. This is more for specific special education questions.

ODD tends to be diagnosed in conjunction with a precipatating problem - in other words the other diagnoses kind of makes the ODD happen. Who diagnosed him with ODD? Has he ever seen a psychologist, neuropsychologist or neurobehavioral specialist? If I were in your shoes I would want a diagnosis first before any kind of medication gets prescribed. Medication is not necessarily a bad thing - if a child has a neurological problem it may be just the support he needs. Would you deny a child insulin for diabetes? Or if he had seizures would you refuse medication to control them?

One of the first steps would be talking to your school counselor or school psychologist about getting him on the list for a Guidance Team meeting (different districts call them different things). Basically it's a team meeting with different professionals in the building who can provide intervention ideas and support for him in the classroom. I'm surprised that at 9 years old (3rd grade?) he hasn't had a teacher mention this type of process. If your son is having this many problems the education team in his building needs to work with you and address these issues. You may even want to request a comprehensive special education evaluation - the links on the archives will show you how to get that ball rolling.

Best of luck to you and welcome again!



ODD is not often a "stand alone" diagnosis although infrequently, it is. The co-morbit problems may be depression (angy, irritable and drepressed kid) or ADHD (overactive, inattentive kids who may develop ODD as a way of "coping" with frustration, and Learning Disability (LD) in any combination, which lead to all of the above AND problems with learning in school.

Children are diffiuclt to diagnosis and sometimes parents go through several attempts before they find a diagnosis and aTx provider that "fit" the problem and help the child and family.

Many, but not all, parents on this site use techniques from the book, The Explosive Child by Ross Greene. If you have a child with ODD characteristics, in my opinion you definitely should order this book. It is helpful in managing not only the child, but also getting adults on the same page about what behaviors to deal with and what behaviors to ignore.

Many people here seek and independent evaluation at a major medical center with a good child/adolescent psychiatric unit. These evaluations are comprehensive and cover the possibility of underlying medical conditions as well as neropsychological abd psychological issue, too.

If your child is have problems making adequate progress in the general education curriculum for either academic or behavioral issues, you can ask the SD for a complete case study evaluation. Some of the areas evaluated will overlap with an independent evaluation, but the SD will focus more on performance in school and triggers for negative behaviors, etc.

This site maintains a section that is devoted to helping parents try to protect their child's right to an appropriate eduction under law. It is called Special Education 101. If you go the school route, most people find that board to be helpful (and there is a lot of information in the Archives of Sp Ed 101 also.)

The general board has many participants who can provide information and share their experiences in dealing with the types of problems you family is experiencing.

I'm glad you found us but sorry you had to.

Martie :warrior: :warrior: :warrior:


My son was diagnosis'd with ODD at age 2.5. It was an awful school struggle and still is. He advanced a be more challenged. That was all fine and dandy until 7th grade. I was told he is immature compared to other 7th graders and they just won't put up with it. (last year)

We have had some awful, awful years at school Have had him tested several times through school. Last spring (7th grade) he scored 92% and 100% higher than other 7th graders. Still, refuses to do work. Outbursts, leaves classroom. Spent many days in the office for his outburts.

I am going backwards here, bear with me...we were advised to put him in Special Education in 5th grade. We refused. 6th grade at semester we were given the option of expulsion or Special Education.
The first IEP I was not prepared and trusted the school to do what is best. Do NOT do that.

We revised his IEP. School was not following any of the provisions listed. Actually found out many teachers didn't even know he had an IEP.

Requested testing last year. Then had several IEP meetings. Even the principal of the middle school was angry with me for issues I brought up. Asked where I was getting my information. When I showed her the special education laws, some of which I had printed and with me, she threw it back at me. She did not attend the next meeting. After several meetings I have on his IEP, remains within the seating chart of the class. (they were putting him in the corner, only makes him angrier). Use of the computer for writing assignments. (writing is hard for him) He has passes made up, and if he feels he is going to blow up, he holds up a pass and is excused from class to seek out the counselor or social worker prior to him exploding. This worked until he started using it to get out of class. So, he still has that option, but he is scheduled to spend time with the counselor or social worker several times a week. I have many more provisions for him, and I WILL be sure they are followed this year.

If you do not have an IEP, I would look into it. Your child needs a rescue from himself prior to any outbursts. Do NOT allow the kids or staff to bully him. Follow through and be sure they follow this. Educate yourself on the special education laws. They are there to provide a positive education for your child. I do not know if your child is in special education, but it is there to help them succeed and overcome obstacles.

Another big, big trigger for my ODD son is how he is approached. If he is accused of something he will blow up. If he is asked about it he is more willing to be calm and talk. If a staff member or anyone approaches him and starts yelling...he will yell back. I have learned after many, many phone calls about his behavior to ask...what happened prior to this incident. More times than not someone had deliberately done something to get a reaction. And more times than not this other person is not reprimanded, only my son because of his reaction.

It is a difficult road, but it does get easier when you learn more about how to approach and handle situations.


New Member
You certainly aren't alone! My son just turned 10. While it has been a struggle to get school to recognize his problems and make "appropriate" accommodations, we are getting there. I have a great examples from the first two days of school.

First day of school: My kids go to what they call "short watch". It's a free after school program where they sit on the bleachers in the gym for about 30 minutes before they go outside to be picked up at the curb by parents. It spreads out the rush of traffic I guess. Anyway, a boy who he has had many, many fights with started teasing him. He warned the kid that he was getting really angry and that he shouldn't make him mad. Even my daughter warned the kid that making her brother angry was a bad idea because he would hit him. The kid kept going and a fight broke out. The teacher in charge understood that the kid had been warned twice and knows my son fairly well. She didn't send him to the office or give any kind of discipline other than to remind him that next time he should call for her help. When I got there and found out about it, I talked to the teacher and we agreed that from now on, he will "help" the kindergardeners and pre-schoolers while they wait and make sure they have all their stuff when it's time to line up outside. Gives him a job he thinks is really important and keeps him away from the older kids that tend to tease.

Second day of school: I was approached after school by the counselor asking if I thought it would be a good idea if my son also helped the little kids in the mornings. This would allow him to walk them to their class rooms AND get to his locker a few minutes before the other kids. He has trouble at the lockers when everyone is loud and pushing and shoving to make space (he has sensory issues besides ADHD/ODD). What a great idea - and SCHOOL thought of it! It doesn't take away from learning time, gives his self-esteem a boost to help the little kids (who he is great with), and keeps him out of the locker rush.

So sit down with the teachers in the before care program, his regular class, etc., and see if you can get creative for solutions like this. Maybe he would do better with kids that are much older? Or the little ones like my son. I'm sure they would like to keep the peace as much as you would like to see your son stay out of trouble. I've been dealing with stuff like this for so many years...and what works today might not work tomorrow but be ready to offer them something to try that might help. If they at least see that you are trying to help them control your child, they are a whole lot more willing to work with you. Don't be a parent in denial that your kid is perfect - THAT will make them turn on you!

Good luck!


Hi oddmom

Besides these behaviors, is your son having any other problems in school?

Welcome to the site. :smile: