Behaviours associated with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) are clustered in and around authority figures and compliance with behavioural expectations. Robert Land Academy’s program of clear, fair and consistent rules and expectations together with clearly defined consequences to reinforce and encourage positive behaviours has proven itself to be very effective and is in keeping with recognized methods of dealing with this disorder. Enabling success through genuine accomplishments builds genuine self-confidence and does a lot to deal with the frustration and aggression that is often an underlying cause of ODD.
Oppositional Defiant Disorder
The current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders otherwise known as DSM-5 defines Oppositional Defiant Disorder as a pattern of angry/irritable behaviour or vindictiveness lasting 6 months or longer and in evidence when interacting with one or more individuals who are not siblings. A person correctly identified with this disorder must exhibit 4 symptoms from the following categories (1) angry/irritable mood (2) argumentative/defiant behaviour or (3) vindictiveness. Despite common assumptions, ODD children are not aggressive towards people or animals and do not destroy property or show patterns of theft or deceit.
ODD characteristics often include persistent anger, temper tantrums, angry outbursts and disrespect for authority. Other characteristics involve blaming others for mistakes, deliberately annoying others, being easily disruptive and appearing resentful towards others. ODD is frequently found in conjunction with ADHD and in such cases, ODD characteristics can become significantly magnified.
Anger and Frustration
Over the past ten years, the number of students applying to Robert Land Academy who have exhibited ADHD characteristics, or have been formally diagnosed, has increased exponentially. Additionally, the trend exhibited by many applicant’s files shows that increasing numbers of students identified with ADHD eventually end up with a diagnosis of ODD. The files describe deterioration in behaviours resulting in increased levels of anger and frustration as students proceed through school with a growing sense of hopelessness. Despite the efforts of the DSM, a significant level of flexibility and personal interpretation is found among professionals who are formally recognized as being able to diagnose ODD and as such it is sometimes helpful to focus on the specific behaviours and the level of intensity accompanying them.
Providing an environment that minimizes distractions and excessive electronic stimulation, emphasizes self care and routine, promotes nutritional diet, exercise and sleep all together create a platform enabling success and a sense of self confidence through genuine accomplishment. Once this process can be set into motion much of the mental energy being expressed in frustration and aggression is seen to be redirected in positive efforts to confront and overcome challenges.
Here’s what the parent of a former student had to say about our program.