ODD – Is There Hope?

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This topic contains 4 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  leanz 3 weeks ago.

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  • #134895


    Long time reader, first time poster.

    We first started noticing problems with our son’s behavior around 2-3. He was refusing to nap at daycare and would scream in full on tantrum mode for hours. Soon the behaviors continued at home. Flash forward many tears and screams later he was diagnosed with ADHD and ODD.

    We’ve gone down the usual routes of medication to treat the ADHD (Ritalin and now Focalin, single and extended release, various dosages). So far we’ve seen some success but the ODD behaviors have never lessened. We’re also taking Intuiniv with the ADHD medicines in hopes of helping with the ODD. Only 2mg (1mg in the morning and 1mg at night, 2mg at one time knocked him off his feet). It’s hard to be objective and say things are better with the Intuniv mixed in since we’re still having so many issues but I’m sure it’s better than it was.

    We’ve also tried various therapies with mixed results. We personally feel therapy is the only thing that is going to help with the ODD. We saw a LCSW to help us as parents control ourselves so we could focus on helping him. It was the best thing we ever did. When it came to our son we tried applied behavioralists, but apparently we were recommended the wrong company. A small fortune later of in school observations gave us no new information and a basic color chart/behavior tracker…

    We were blessed to get a scholarship at his current school for OT. However, again I think we may not have the best option. All of her advice and work with him hasn’t really targeted the ODD behavior or is something we’ve tried with no success. We’re currently looking at trying speech therapy to help with his social skills but the cost is daunting.

    We don’t know where else to turn or what to do. Our biggest obstacles are concrete thinking and inflexibility. He flies into tantrum mode at the drop of a hat and is near impossible to bring him back down. All the skills and methods work great on paper but in the heat of the moment he refuses to try them. He knows that screaming and crying only brings punishment and not rewards but he just can’t control himself.

    I could go on and on but we’re just at a loss. We don’t know where else to turn. I was hoping someone has found success with some therapies or medications we can look into. Just something to give us hope that it can get better…

  • #134930

    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

    • #134967


      Thank you Penny. This whole process started with an autism evaluation at age 4. The psychologist didn’t see any signs of autism but picked up on the ODD and ADHD. Our son’s teacher recommended getting him reevaluated to see if there were any changes as she also mentioned that he could have high functioning ASD. Perhaps we’ll look into another screening.

  • #134960


    My 11 year old was also diagnosed with ADHD and ODD. We saw improvement when we got to the right dosage of Intuniv. We still have moments that are difficult, and we have implement therapy for my son, as well as Plan B from The Explosive Child (see above). These have helped, but it is never a perfect fix. I think if you keep with it, you could see improvements. Good luck! It’s a tough road!

  • #134975


    1. Diet control helped a lot, especially removing sweets and food with artificial additives.
    2. Increase sleep if possible.
    3. Do not use force. Use logic. Make connections.
    4. Use one liners. And repeat them.
    Suppose if a child always plays with water wasting ieverytime s/he goes to washroom, you can say – we conserve water and repeat that instead of a full lecture espisode starting with ‘how many times do I have to tell you…’
    4. Show emotional restraint. If the child has a model for anger, ODD child will be quick to pick up on it.
    5. Do not stop ‘showing’ love. It sure is there but its important that your child sees it and feels it.
    All the best!

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