Reply To: ODD – Is There Hope?

Penny Williams

I see a lot of kids labeled with ODD or other mood disorder who actually have autism spectrum disorder. While concrete thinking and inflexibility are classic signs of “high-functioning” autism, it takes more than that to meet the criteria to have ASD. Something to consider exploring. (My son got the additional ASD diagnosis at age 12, six years after his ADHD diagnosis. Many therapists through the years suggested mood disorder and I knew it didn’t fit. When social struggles became much worse instead of getting better, and when stuck thinking was impossible to get through, I realized ASD could be the missing piece, and it was.)

Is My Child with ADHD on the Autism Spectrum?

I always teach parents that behavior is communication, just as Ross Greene’s work shows. There’s always a reason why the behavior is happening. When you address those reasons successfully, then the behavior improves. If you haven’t read Greene’s books yet, I strongly recommend them: “Raising Human Beings” and “The Explosive Child.”

Time for Plan B? 10 Tips for Dealing with an Explosive Child

The other piece that is likely contributing to the behavior is emotional dysregulation. Ask the OT if they can work on emotional awareness, communication and regulation. Our OT did this through the Zones of Regulation program.

And, remember, your son is having a hard time, not giving you a hard time. That’s very clear when punishments don’t improve behavior.

ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Trainer & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism