Primary School Teacher Strategies for Oppositional defiant disorder | AllPlay Learn (2024)

Evidence-based strategies

  • Provide a positive environment
  • Be proactive
  • Build a child’s skillset
  • Collaborate with parents

  • Use lots of praise. Praising students often for positive behaviours can build confidence and reduce disruptive and challenging behaviour. This might include praise for staying focused, interacting well with others and listening to teachers. Praise can be given both individually and for others to hear.
  • Provide a warm and nurturing environment. A warm and supportive role model can help students learn how to have good interpersonal relationships. Look for ways to model to students how to get along with others.
  • Use a reward system. Punishment may not lead to changes in challenging behaviour. Instead, rewards/encouragement can be given for positive behaviours. Behaviour charts with stickers help students see their progress. Students may be more motivated if they can choose their favourite reward like a sticker, game or book.
  • Set clear classroom rules. Explaining the classroom rules at the start of a year or term can be helpful. Clear and simple are best (e.g. “Raise your hand before you speak”, “Keep your hands to yourself”). Teaching students why a rule is important, including how breaking a rule impacts others, may lead to more positive behaviour.
  • Strengthen students’ social skills. Some students with ODD may find it hard to know how to get along with others. Consider coaching them with social skills, such as how to share, apologise and agree with others, and how to have a conversation (e.g. listening, letting the other person talk, waiting their turn to talk). Opportunities to practise these skills may help. You can find other general social skills strategies on the social functioning page.
  • Help students build positive relationships. Positive relationships between students with ODD and teachers may help them with cooperation, motivation and learning. Connecting with students and managing frustrations with past challenging behaviour can help build a positive relationship.
  • Talk with students about feelings. A “feelings thermometer” on the wall can help students communicate how they are feeling without using words. Feelings card games help students learn what emotions look like.
  • Help students to manage their emotions. If a student gets angry or has an emotional outburst, they can take steps to calm down. Encourage them to recognise a feeling, pause, take a breath, and tell themselves to calm down or use other strategies like counting to 10. Get them to think about why they became emotional once they have calmed down.
  • Teach students how to relax. Learning simple ways to relax may help students with ODD manage their emotions. Watch an example of a breathing and relaxation exercise on the teacher resources page.
  • Encourage students to problem solve. Helping students learn to problem solve can help them persist with school work instead of getting frustrated. For example, help students identify a problem, think of possible solutions, choose the best solution, and think about if the solution worked. When students are learning how to problem solve, giving them appropriate options to choose from may be helpful.
  • Build strong home-school bonds. Consider involving parents through regular positive phone calls, parent-teacher interviews and homework which needs signing.
  • Use a home-school note system. Send positive notes home in a students’ diary for positive behaviour at school so their family can encourage them at home. These notes could describe the positive behaviour for the parent to understand.
  • Primary School Teacher Strategies for Oppositional defiant disorder | AllPlay Learn (2024)


    Primary School Teacher Strategies for Oppositional defiant disorder | AllPlay Learn? ›

    Children may respond well to a neutral tone for instructions, and a positive tone for praise. Avoid yelling or sarcasm. Children with ODD are less likely to be disruptive when they know what to expect. Consider having a visual schedule on the wall and letting a child know if there are going to be any changes.

    How can a teacher help a student with oppositional defiant disorder? ›

    Some students with ODD may find it hard to know how to get along with others. Consider explicit teaching with social skills, such as how to share, apologise and agree with others, and how to have a conversation (for example, listening, letting the other person talk, waiting their turn to talk).

    How do you discipline an ODD child in the classroom? ›

    With ODD students, intimidation increases their non-compliant behavior. Avoid public reprimands. Always try to address behavior privately, especially with adolescents. Purposefully set aside and spend positive time with the child.

    What is the best intervention for oppositional defiant disorder? ›

    Parent management therapy (PMT) is the main treatment for oppositional behaviors. It teaches parents ways to change their child's behavior in the home by using positive reinforcement to decrease unwanted behaviors and promote healthy behaviors.

    What not to do with ODD students? ›

    Be sensitive to self-esteem issues. Provide feedback to your student with ODD in private, and avoid asking the student to perform difficult tasks in front of classmates. It can be helpful to praise positive behaviors, such as staying seated, not calling out, taking turns, and being respectful.

    What are some CBT techniques for treating ODD? ›

    Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
    • identifying outburst triggers and consequences.
    • learning strategies to regulate emotion.
    • self-monitoring changes in emotion.
    • using relaxation techniques to remain calm.
    • learning socially appropriate reactions to anger-provoking situations.
    Sep 29, 2021

    How do you set boundaries with an ODD child? ›

    1. Know your boundaries. In a calm moment, think about what your boundaries are. ...
    2. Set your boundaries. ...
    3. Make clear how you will respond if your boundaries are violated. ...
    4. Enforce your boundaries. ...
    5. Model positive boundaries. ...
    6. Know your emotional buttons.

    Is ODD a form of autism? ›

    Research has suggested that ODD cases are often comorbid to cases of ASD, but due to the difficulty of assessing similar symptoms and attributing the different motivations that underly an ODD diagnosis, it is enormously difficult for clinicians to separate the two.

    Can a child with ODD be good at school? ›

    The traditional criteria suggest that a person only has ODD if she is extremely difficult in all areas of life: at school, at home, in public, and with peers. More recently, medical professionals have recognized that certain children with ODD may behave well at school, and only show symptoms at home.

    What are the techniques for ODD? ›

    The treatment of choice for ODD is parent management training. Parents are taught to change their reactions to a child's behavior — good and bad. Training involves using carrots and sticks — giving well-defined rewards and praise when your child cooperates, and consequences for misbehavior.

    How to calm a child with ODD? ›

    Instead, follow these strategies for how to discipline a child with oppositional defiant disorder:
    1. Treat before you punish. ...
    2. Exercise away hostility. ...
    3. Know your child's patterns. ...
    4. Be clear about rules and consequences. ...
    5. Stay cool-headed and under control. ...
    6. Use a code word like 'bubble gum. ...
    7. Stay positive.
    Sep 20, 2022

    What is play therapy for oppositional defiant disorder? ›

    Play therapy: Although adults can have ODD, ODD is more commonly diagnosed in children. Young children may struggle to understand or express their emotions. Play therapy offers an alternative outlet. Through play, children can work through their emotions, understand their behavior, and master new coping skills.

    What do children with ODD need? ›

    Treatment will often include both individual therapy and family therapy. It may also include work with the child's teacher or school. Treatment may also include the use of medication, although medication alone would rarely be considered an adequate or appropriate intervention for children with ODD.

    How do you get a student with ODD to comply? ›

    Some of the ODD interventions and other strategies that teachers may use include:
    1. Build a positive relationship.
    2. Consistent expectations.
    3. Frequent breaks.
    4. Cool-down area.
    5. Give choices.
    6. Positive reinforcement system.

    Can kids grow out of ODD? ›

    Some children with ODD will eventually outgrow the disorder. Symptoms may disappear as they age. However, as much as 30 percent of children with ODD eventually develop a conduct disorder. About 10 percent of children with ODD may eventually develop a personality disorder, like antisocial personality disorder.

    How do you punish a child with ADHD and ODD? ›

    Here are tips and things to keep in mind when it comes to disciplining kids with ADHD.
    1. Remember the challenges of ADHD. Kids with ADHD usually don't mean to misbehave. ...
    2. Give a clear warning. ...
    3. Avoid disciplining with anger. ...
    4. Take your time. ...
    5. Use logical consequences. ...
    6. Be ready to try different approaches. ...
    7. Be patient.

    How to deal with a defiant ADHD child? ›

    Instead, parents must reassert their authority by setting up well-defined rewards and punishments, and then implementing them consistently and dispassionately. “My most important rule is that parents should not take ODD behavior personally,” says Riley. “Remain calm and friendly whenever you intervene.

    Is oppositional defiant disorder caused by bad parenting? ›

    Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is a childhood behavioural problem characterised by constant disobedience and hostility. The quality of parenting seems to be an important factor in the development of ODD. Treatment options include parent management training and family therapy.

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