Looking for advice interacting with child with likely ODD


New Member
This might not be the place for this, but I'm looking for advice from wherever I can get it. I have a job where I work with children to develop their cognitive skills. I'm skeptical of the efficacy of the program, but I took the job because I knew I was going to get to observe kids with difficult behaviors.

Not being a psychologist, I know it's suspect to say "likely ODD", but the child in question is a more extreme case of constant defiance and refusal. I don't think the program is appropriate for him and I find the situation a little heartbreaking, but I need to do whatever I can for the child.

He generally refuses to do many of the tasks requested of him regardless of difficulty. And you have to take everything out of his reach - all books, papers, pencils, and so on or he will fidget with them and tear up the paper. He often makes physical attempts to "break into" the space behind my desk to grab the items I've removed from his reach. Failing that, he starts to tip over the desk and his chair.

Today I could see that his feelings got hurt when I said we were going to do his favorite task, then changed my mind since I wanted to save it for the end. I'm one of the least aggressive people working there and I don't want to play the "battle of wills game" that is a staple of some kinds of teaching and demands. I want to have as trusting a relationship as possible with this child because I know he's already in a battle with many of the adults in his life, and I don't want to add to his burden.

He was quite happy with how well he did on his favorite task and was excited to show his grandmother, but for most of the 90 minute session we just sat with him playing with his "fidget spinner" (which he's not suppose to have) because he refused to work. He was more physical today than usual and I don't want to meet that with forceful coercion while I figure this out.


Well-Known Member
As the mom of a son who has autism (all grown up and doing well and had my tiffs with teachers) i urge you to leave diagnosing to neuro psychologists, psychiatrists etc. So much looks like ODD which is not a specific diagnosis anyway and i did not take kindly to the wrong diagnoses of my son from teachers at all. I was told he had ADHD and other various diagnoses and to put him on Ritalin.

The various intensive tests showed my son had autism, high functioning. He needed specific interventions and is now doing great at 24. Not all defiant kids have ODD. In fact it rarely stands alone.

Teachers are educators, not diagnosticians. Just follow his IEP. Do your best. Thats all you can do.
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pigless in VA

Well-Known Member
What about giving him a lump of playdough or some of that therapy putty to fidget with. That might be good enough to occupy his hands without distracting his eyeballs.