Student with Possible Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

Discussion in 'Behavior Management' started by corunnermom, Sep 9, 2018.

  1. corunnermom

    corunnermom Rookie

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    Sep 9, 2018

    Hi,
    I'm a first grade teacher and have a very challenging student in my class. As a whole, my classroom is a positive environment with clear expectations. The students are doing well and we are building a respectful community. However, I got a new student who I believe has oppositional defiant disorder. His home life is complete chaos (moving from apartment to apartment, evictions, divorce, parents fighting, step siblings are not good role models, his brother takes care of him most of the time, etc.) This explains his behavior. I have empathy for him and understand that he seeks attention and control...I wish I could change his home life. But, school is school and his job is to come ready to learn. His behavior is not only frustrating me, but the other students as well. He's been in school for 11 days and I have already referred him twice to the office for defiance, refusal to follow directions, and general disruption. I can barely get through a whole group lesson. The teacher in me wants ALL students to learn, including my friend. I want him to be part of instruction, but I've had to separate him from the group.

    These are the behaviors I have seen:
    Refusal to follow directions
    Refusal to do partner work (our curriculum calls for a lot of that)
    Refusal to do work on his own (he is above grade level)
    Disruption during lessons by turning his back to me, bothering students next to him, making noises, putting his shirt over his head, calling and screaming out, blaming others for his behavior

    This is what I have done based on my limited knowledge of psychology!
    Praise him for following directions and being kind and caring. Award him with a ticket.
    (I am meeting with our social worker this week to design an incentive plan).
    Give him a daily job. He loves to help.
    Hook him up with a responsible friend who is a role model.
    Give him choices of when to follow directions. Example, you can start your work in 10 seconds or do it during recess.
    Stay consistent with consequences.
    Work with him one of one when the opportunity arises.
    Removal from the group when necessary.
    Ignore his behavior.
    Call admin for support when needed.
    Keep his mom updated from time to time, but I am hesitant to reach out to his mom. There are rumors that the home is abusive.

    I'm pulling every trick out of my hat but I am exhausted and getting nowhere. My entire day is spend managing his behavior. I want him to learn but my job is to teach ALL of my kids and I cannot seem to do this when his behavior is ruling my class.

    Any advice and ideas would be more than welcome!!!!
     
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  3. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    Sep 9, 2018

    It's important to realize, too, that there is no magic formula to solve this situation. Not only that, but the cause behind his misbehavior is probably multifaceted. On the other hand, as you mentioned, although the teacher cannot control the negative influences in his life, the teacher must try to manage his classroom decorum and manage the entire class. We can't let one student rule the entire class.

    I'd be very cautious about incentive plans. That's a bad habit for such a child to get into, manipulating the teachers into giving him special rewards. To become part of the group, he needs to be part of the group, not an outcast who gets rewarded for good behavior because he had bad behavior. Sometimes negative reinforcement (ignoring misbehaviors) works, but it's important to also keep in mind that he is probably not seeking attention with his misbehaviors; that is an unusual cause for misbehavior. (Not to be wishy-washy in my comments, but on the other hand, some students do need extra intervention of some sort).

    Overall, I'd recommend continuing as you were, especially commenting on his proper decorum. I'd keep that the same as you would comment to any other student. "Praise" sometimes can evolve into over-exaltations; it's important to keep comments as guidance, informing the child of his worthy choices of behavior. It's also important for the child to view rules as social constructions to ensure the group adequately and efficiently proceeds through their day; rules are not dictates from a teacher with eyes in the back of her/his head who rewards and punishes kids. In other words, the teacher is not the big boss; the teacher is the manager of the classroom, but the teacher is also the guide in the classroom.

    Again, there's no magic formula, but two tools that I've found work best are my smile and my ears. My mouth is for smiling when the student first enters the room and absolutely not for yelling at the student. He probably gets plenty of that at home! (And it hasn't worked, apparently, either). My ears are my most important tool. I listen to every student (as long as they speak to me as respectfully as I speak to them). I encourage the student to talk, not just by asking "why?" but by repeating their sentence and ending with because.... (Asking why usually results in a shoulder shrug).

    In typing this, I was going to also allude to how Mr. (Fred) Rogers informed each student how important they were to his television classroom, and for some reason, from your description of this child's chaotic home environment, an unusual idea occurred to me. If reruns of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood are available (off hand, I don't know if they are), perhaps a regular viewing the his program will give this child a sense of regularity, and give him an opportunity to view another adult (along with you, of course) who is calmly looking directly at him, and give him an opportunity to experience a non-chaotic calm environment, especially during the puppet interlude where problems are resolved in a calm manner. It might be worth a try.

    Another thought I had. He might be over responding to the change of environment in the classroom, going from "#*@@&*#!!!" in the morning to your classroom. His brain chemistry is still in high gear, and possibly hasn't even ever developed into the proper chemical functions. Perhaps a bit of first grade humor during the day will give him an opportunity to laugh appropriately and reorganize some of his brain chemistry in a positive manner. Obviously, most first graders are too young to understand puns, but a daily riddle or joke on the blackboard for the class to read, perhaps covered up with poster board until time for the daily joke, will give him and the class a good, hearty laugh. It's a good reading activity for the entire class, too.
     
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  4. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Sep 9, 2018

    It sounds like you need to get your admin and any social emotional support staff more involved, and you need to come up with a behavior management plan. You will probably need a very strict plan, and you'll need to follow it. You may have to make accommodations, like not requiring him to work with a partner, even though everyone else must.

    Also, although you may want him to come to school ready to learn, the truth is that a large number of students don't and won't. So, you need to keep an open mind and be willing to doing what's within your control to help him get ready for learning after he arrives.
     
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  5. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Enthusiast

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    Sep 9, 2018

    This thread is very useful to me. I’ve never had a student with this disorder and I am saving this information for later use in the off chance I have a student with this condition. Thanks everyone for providing your valuable input.
     
  6. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    Sep 9, 2018

    Good luck! You'll need it! I had "B" my little third grade ODD/ADHD child. Even with a 504 plan, it was pretty much useless. I had plenty of other behavior problems in that classroom and he was just the cherry on top of a "fabulous'' year! :roll: I got no real support or help with him (or the other kids) which is just one of the reasons I left that district.
    I just hope to god you have a decent admin or team that you can vent to if needed.
    [​IMG]
     
  7. Zelda~*

    Zelda~* Devotee

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    Sep 9, 2018

    I taught K-2 ED for eight years, so I do have some background in these situations. If their home-lives are chaos, they are already stressed to the max when they come to and even the simplest of requests can push them over the edge.

    As Obidiah has said, there is no magical solution in these cases. Truthfully, it sounds like you are on the right track. The little guy might need a full evaluation done to see if he's in the right placement. Have you been documenting his behavior via an ABC chart? (Antecedent, behavior, consequence?) If you haven't completed a form like that before it looks something like this:

    Antecedent: I told the class to take out their Wonders Workbooks.
    Behavior: Joey dropped his workbook on the floor and put his head down on his desk.
    Consequence: I picked up the book, put it on his desk, and continued giving the class directions.

    Some episodes might have more than one set of ABC.
     
  8. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Sep 9, 2018

    OP sounds like you're off to a good start with getting other involved, identifying strategies, and most importantly being compassionate and proactive about the situation. As you gather strategies from here and your social worker, the big next step is coordinating that into a consistent plan across not only your classroom, but his whole school life. For example, you've mentioned both ignoring, providing choices, & providing incentives - these can conflict and actually cause the problem to get worse if not implemented in a more coordinated fashion. The social worker will hopefully be able to help out with that, but we can probably chime in as well in a week or so when you get ready to do that.

    In terms of ODD as a term/label/diagnosis itself, I wouldn't get hung up on it - it's mainly just a term that's used to code services & resources, not a diagnosis which provides you with specific strategies that will uniquely work only with those kids. In short, with or without the diagnosis you still have the same tools available to you.

    Another big next step is a more thorough assessment of how he, his behavior, and your classroom (you, students, curriculum expectations, physical structure, etc.) are all interacting. For example, is he more triggered by reading than math? Does he react less intensely when given choices? Are there times of the day when it's worse? Even though you've likely identified a general link between home environment and school, it's not enough to make operational. It would be like a doctor telling you that you've got an allergy to "something you're eating." That may be true, but it's not enough information to know what to avoid. If you need help with designing some assessments that may help you learn more about what's going on, I'd ask the social worker, and again we may be able to help here as well. For starters, I'd look at some online resources related to identifying the "ABCs" of behavior. There are more involved and less involved ways of doing this.

    Finally, as I'm sure you already are, keep in mind that this will be a work in progress over months, and you will likely develop multiple versions of your successful behavior plan that will slowly get better. The key is to not "do a bunch of stuff" and then conclude that none of it works because you're not seeing an immediate impact. Start small with only a few strategies, build on successes, change out things that don't work, give things time to work, then try changing only 1-2 things at a time so you have a better sense of what's working and what's not. And don't get frustrated or feel like a failure because you aren't seeing it all change immediately - even the best teachers, psychologists, etc. can't work magic overnight ;).
     
  9. vickilyn

    vickilyn Virtuoso

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    Sep 9, 2018

    I haven't read anything in the post about reaching out to the child study team for evaluation and testing, and actually, that would be one of my first actions. This may not solve your problem, but it gets him on their radar, and they may be able to give you more coping strategies. If either parent is also concerned, they can start the ball rolling with a letter to the CST requesting testing and evaluation, but the parents may be too busy fighting to notice what is happening. You mention a brother, so brother may be showing similar difficulties, which CST may be aware of. Your social worker is your best resource right now, especially if you lack a counselor.

    I get these children once they are teens. Let me wish you the best of luck.
     
  10. Teacher234

    Teacher234 Comrade

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    Sep 9, 2018

    I have done a few case studies on individuals with ODD. I have a student with ODD currently in my classroom.
    The symptoms are typical for a child with ODD. However, based on the background/family situation of the child, ODD is probably never going to be the diagnosis. I would say the behaviors are more environmental and not neurological. It may appear to be ODD or some other EBD, but it seems to be more of a parental upbringing rather than an emotional impairment. With all that said, discuss the matter with your school social worker, behavioral specialist, and behavioral intervention team.

    Actually, in addition to teaching certifications and my Masters Degree, I also have a degree in psychology.
     
  11. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Sep 9, 2018

    Have you reported the abuse rumors?
     
  12. corunnermom

    corunnermom Rookie

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    Sep 10, 2018

    Thank you all for taking the time to reply to my concerns about my students. I contacted our dean, social worker and social/emotional specialist to meet with me to discuss my student as well as come up with a plan to help him be successful. Before then, I'm reflecting on how I react to his behavior. I get concerned when he distracts because he is not learning...my job as a teacher is to teach! In this case, there are some things beyond my control and I need to change my expectations. I think if I change my expectations of him, I can calm down and not get so frustrated. As my teammate says, you can only do so much and you can't fix everyone. In general, I am very positive and calm with him and my class, but he's been pushing me over the edge and I need to keep that in check.

    Yes, the abuse has been reported but I'm not sure if any investigation has occurred. I'm never informed! I'm hoping that we can build a bridge with school and his home, but I think mom has a lot on her plate right now and I'm not sure if the priority right now is her son's behavior. I'm staying hopeful and positive with the entire situation, but also realistic about my expectations. Thank again!
     
  13. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Sep 10, 2018

    ODD isn't neurological definitionally.
     
  14. Teacher234

    Teacher234 Comrade

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    Sep 10, 2018

    Right. I am sorry for including the incorrect information. I was thinking about something else.
     
  15. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Sep 13, 2018 at 1:21 PM

    All good! ;)
     
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