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Aspergers Syndrome and Oppositional Defiant Disorder [ODD] Combination

Even the best-behaved Aspergers children can be difficult and challenging at times. Aspergers adolescents are often moody and argumentative. But if your Aspergers child or adolescent has a persistent pattern of tantrums, arguing, and angry or disruptive behaviors toward you and other authority figures, he or she may have oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). As many as one in 10 Aspergers children may have ODD in a lifetime.

Treatment of ODD involves therapy and possibly medications to treat related mental health conditions. As a parent, you don't have to go it alone in trying to manage an Aspergers child with ODD. Doctors, counselors and child development experts can help you learn specific strategies to address ODD.


It may be tough at times to recognize the difference between a strong-willed or emotional child and one with ODD. Certainly there's a range between the normal independence-seeking behavior of Aspergers kids and ODD. It's normal to exhibit oppositional behaviors at certain stages of a youngster's development.

However, your Aspergers child's issue may be ODD if your youngster's oppositional behaviors:
  • Are clearly disruptive to the family and home or school environment
  • Are persistent
  • Have lasted at least six months

The following are behaviors associated with ODD:
  • Defiance
  • Disobedience
  • Hostility directed toward authority figures
  • Negativity

These behaviors might cause your Aspergers child to regularly and consistently show these symptoms:
  • Academic problems
  • Acting touchy and easily annoyed
  • Aggressiveness toward peers
  • Anger and resentment
  • Argumentativeness with adults
  • Blaming others for mistakes or misbehavior
  • Deliberate annoyance of other people
  • Difficulty maintaining friendships
  • Frequent temper tantrums
  • Refusal to comply with adult requests or rules
  • Spiteful or vindictive behavior

Related mental health issues—

ODD often occurs along with other behavioral or mental health problems such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety or depression. The symptoms of ODD may be difficult to distinguish from those of other behavioral or mental health problems.

It's important to diagnose and treat any co-occurring illnesses because they can create or worsen irritability and defiance if left untreated. Additionally, it's important to identify and treat any related substance abuse and dependence. Substance abuse and dependence in Aspergers kids or adolescents is often associated with irritability and changes in the Aspergers child or adolescent's usual personality.


There's no clear cause underpinning ODD. Contributing causes may include:
  • A biochemical or neurological factor
  • A genetic component that when coupled with certain environmental conditions — such as lack of supervision, poor quality child care or family instability — increases the risk of ODD
  • The Aspergers child's inherent temperament
  • The Aspergers child's perception that he or she isn't getting enough of the parent's time and attention
  • The family's response to the youngster's style

Risk factors—

A number of factors play a role in the development of ODD. ODD is a complex problem involving a variety of influences, circumstances and genetic components. No single factor causes ODD. Possible risk factors include:
  • Being abused or neglected
  • Exposure to violence
  • Family instability such as occurs with divorce, multiple moves, or changing schools or child care providers frequently
  • Financial problems in the family
  • Harsh or inconsistent discipline
  • Having a parent with a mood or substance abuse disorder
  • Lack of supervision
  • Moms and dads with a history of ADHD, ODD or conduct problems
  • Poor relationship with one or both moms and dads
  • Substance abuse in the Aspergers child or adolescent

When to seek medical advice—

If you're concerned about your Aspergers child's behavior or your own ability to parent a challenging youngster, seek help from your doctor, a child psychologist or child behavioral expert. Your primary care doctor or your youngster's pediatrician can refer you to someone.

The earlier this disorder can be managed, the better the chances of reversing its effects on your Aspergers child and your family. Treatment can help restore your youngster's self-esteem and rebuild a positive relationship between you and your Aspergers child.

Tests and diagnosis—

Behavioral and mental health conditions are difficult to diagnose definitively. There's no blood test or imaging technique that can pinpoint an exact cause of behavioral symptoms, though these tests are sometimes used to rule out certain conditions. Physicians and other health professionals rely on:
  • Information gained from interviewing the Aspergers child
  • Information gathered from moms and dads and teachers, who may fill out questionnaires
  • Their clinical judgment and experience

Normal child and adolescent behavior and development can be challenging in their own right, but ODD is distinct due to the frequent and significant disruptions that are caused in the youngster's life at home, school, or in a job where authority figures have clear limits and expectations for behavior.

It can be difficult for doctors to sort and exclude other associated disorders — for example, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder versus ODD. These two disorders are commonly diagnosed together.


Many Aspergers kids with ODD have other treatable conditions, such as:
  • Anxiety
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Depression

If these conditions are left untreated, managing ODD can be very difficult for the moms and dads, and frustrating for the affected Aspergers child. Kids with ODD may have trouble in school with teachers and other authority figures and may struggle to make and keep friends.

ODD may be a precursor to other, more severe behavioral disorders such as conduct disorder, but this is controversial.

Treatments and drugs—

Ideally, treatment for ODD involves your primary care doctor and a qualified mental health professional or child development professional. It may also help to seek the services of a psychologist specializing in family therapy.

These health professionals can screen for and treat other mental health problems that may be interfering with ODD, such as ADHD, anxiety or depression. Successful treatment of the often-coexisting conditions will improve the effectiveness of treatment for ODD. In some cases, the symptoms of ODD disappear entirely.

Successful treatment of ODD requires commitment and follow-through by you as a parent and by others involved in your youngster's care. Most important in treatment is for you to show consistent, unconditional love and acceptance of your Aspergers child — even during difficult and disruptive situations. Doing so can be tough for even the most patient moms and dads.

Learning or improving parental skills—

A mental health professional can help you learn or strengthen specific skills and parenting techniques to help improve your Aspergers child's behavior and strengthen your relationship with him or her. For example, you can learn how to:
  • Avoid power struggles
  • Establish a schedule for the family that includes specific meals that will be eaten at home together, and specific activities one or both moms and dads will do with the Aspergers child
  • Give effective timeouts
  • Limit consequences to those that can be consistently reinforced and if possible, last for a limited amount of time
  • Offer acceptable choices to your Aspergers child, giving him or her a certain amount of control
  • Recognize and praise your Aspergers child's good behaviors and positive characteristics
  • Remain calm and unemotional in the face of opposition

Success requires perseverance, hard work—

Although some parent management techniques may seem like common sense, learning to use them in the face of opposition isn't easy, especially if there are other stressors at home. Learning these skills may require counseling, parenting classes or other forms of education, and consistent practice and patience.

At first, your Aspergers child is not likely to be cooperative or to appreciate your changed response to his or her behavior. Expect that you'll have setbacks and relapses, and be prepared with a plan to manage those times. In fact, behavior often temporarily worsens when new limits and expectations are set. However, with perseverance and consistency, the initial hard work often pays off with improved behavior and relationships.

Individual and family counseling—

Individual counseling for your Aspergers child may help him or her learn to manage anger. Family counseling may help improve communication and relationships and help family members learn how to work together.

Lifestyle and home remedies—

At home, you can begin chipping away at problem behaviors by practicing the following:
  • Assign your Aspergers child a household chore that's essential and that won't get done unless the youngster does it. Initially, it's important to set your youngster up for success with tasks that are relatively easy to achieve and gradually blend in more important and challenging expectations.
  • Build in time together. Develop a consistent weekly schedule that involves moms and dads and youngster being together.
  • Model the behavior you want your Aspergers child to have.
  • Pick your battles. Avoid power struggles.
  • Recognize and praise your Aspergers child's positive behaviors.
  • Set limits and enforce consistent reasonable consequences.
  • Set up a routine. Develop a consistent daily schedule for your Aspergers child.
  • Work with your spouse or others in your household to assure consistent and appropriate discipline procedures.

Coping and support—

For yourself, counseling can provide an outlet for your own mental health concerns that could interfere with the successful treatment of your Aspergers child's symptoms. If you're depressed or anxious, that could lead to disengagement from your Aspergers child — and that can trigger or worsen oppositional behaviors. Here are some tips:
  • Be forgiving. Let go of things that you or your Aspergers child did in the past. Start each day with a fresh outlook and a clean slate.
  • Learn ways to calm yourself. Keeping your own cool models the behavior you want from your Aspergers child.
  • Take time for yourself. Develop outside interests, get some exercise and spend some time away from your Aspergers child to restore your energy.

Aspergers, ADHD, and ODD


My 8 year old Aspie also has ADHD and Oppositional Defiant Disorder [ODD]. I can deal with the ADHD and the Aspergers …it’s the ODD I am having a hard time with. How do deal with it and what works with dealing with this disorder? What do you do as far as discipline? We are at our wits end with this part of his diagnoses and would love some advice.


Aspergers (high-functioning autism) is often not be the only psychological condition affecting a particular youngster. In fact, it frequently coexists with other problems such as:
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Depression (Major Depressive Disorder or Adjustment Disorder with Depressed Mood)
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)

Oppositional Defiant Disorder, also known as ODD, is a psychiatric behavior disorder that is characterized by aggressiveness and a tendency to purposefully bother and irritate others.

DSM delineates the criteria for ODD as follows:

A. A pattern of negativistic, hostile, and defiant behavior lasting at least six months during which four or more of the following are present: often loses temper, often argues with adults, often actively defies or refuses to comply with adult requests or rules, often deliberately annoys people, often blames others for his or her mistakes or misbehavior, is often touchy or easily annoyed by others, is often angry and resentful, is often spiteful or vindictive.

B. The disturbance in behavior causes clinically significant impairment in social, academic, or occupational functions.

C. The behaviors do not occur exclusively during the course of psychotic or mood disorder.

D. Criteria are not met for Conduct Disorder, and if the individual is age 18 years or older, criteria are not met for Anti-social Personality Disorder.

Facts on Oppositional Defiant Disorder—
  • 15% of ODD kids develop some form of personality disorder
  • 20% of kids with ODD have some form of mood disorder, such as Bipolar Disorder or anxiety
  • 35% of these kids develop some type of affective disorder
  • 50-65% of ODD kids also have ADD or ADHD
  • 75% of kids with Oppositional Defiant Disorder above the age of eight will still be defiant later in life
  • Kids with CD and ODD are also at high risk for criminality and antisocial personality disorders in adulthood
  • Many of these kids have learning disorders
  • ODD is more common in boys than in girls before puberty
  • ODD is reported to affect between 2 and 16 percent of kids
  • Once kids enter adolescence, it is extremely difficult for moms and dads to change the ODD behavior

Symptoms of Oppositional Defiant Disorder—

Kids with ODD show defiant, hostile, and negativistic behaviors lasting at least six months, of which four or more of the following behaviors are present:
  • actively defies or refuses to comply with adults' requests or rules
  • argues with adults
  • blames others for his or her mistakes
  • deliberately annoys people
  • is angry or resentful
  • is spiteful and vindictive
  • loses temper
  • mean and hateful talking when upset
  • often being touchy or easily annoyed by others
  • seeking revenge

Causes of Oppositional Defiant Disorder—

There has been no systematic research into the causes of ODD; however, there are two theories as follows:

• Learning Theory: ODD comes as a response to negative interactions. The techniques used by moms and dads and authority figures bring about the oppositional defiant behavior.

• Developmental Theory: ODD is really a result of incomplete development. For some reason, ODD kids don't master the tasks that other kids master during their toddler years. They get stuck in the toddler stage (2-3 years old) and never really grow out of it.

Treatment of Oppositional Defiant Disorder—
  • Cognitive-Behavioral Psychotherapy to assist in problem solving and decrease negativity
  • Family Psychotherapy to improve communication
  • Individual Psychotherapy to develop effective anger management
  • Parent Training Programs to help manage behavior
  • Social Skills Training to increase flexibility and improve tolerance to frustration with peers
  • Stimulant Medication is prescribed only when ODD is accompanied by another disorder such as ADD or ADHD

Treatment is particularly important because kids with ODD are also at high risk for criminality and antisocial personality disorders in adulthood.

What Moms and Dads Can Do—
  1. Avoid power struggles.
  2. Build on the positives.
  3. Establish a schedule for the family that includes specific meals that will be eaten at home together, and specific activities one or both parents will do with the Aspergers child.
  4. Exercise and relax. Use respite care as needed.
  5. Give effective timeouts.
  6. Give the youngster praise and positive reinforcement when he shows flexibility or cooperation.
  7. Limit consequences to those that can be consistently reinforced and if possible, last for a limited amount of time.
  8. Manage your stress.
  9. Offer acceptable choices to your Aspergers child, giving him a certain amount of control.
  10. Pick your battles carefully.
  11. Prioritize the things you want your youngster to do.
  12. Remain calm and unemotional in the face of opposition.
  13. Set up reasonable, age-appropriate limits with consequences that can be enforced consistently.
  14. Stay involved in things other than your youngster with ODD, so that your youngster doesn't take up all of your time and energy.
  15. Take a break if you are about to make the conflict with your youngster worse. This is good modeling, so be sure to support your youngster if he decides to take a time-out to prevent overreacting.
  16. Try to work with other adults that are involved with your youngster, such as educators, coaches, and your husband or wife.

What Teachers Can Do—

It is important for educators to be aware of the disorders that their students are suffering from. Educators may or may not see symptoms of ODD at school. Even if the symptoms are not present at school, it is helpful to know what the moms and dads are dealing with at home. The more you communicate with the family and understand the situation, the better you will be able to help.

Click here for a complete parenting-course on how to deal with the Aspergers child who also has Oppositional Defiant Disorder.

Dual Diagnosis in Kids on the Autism Spectrum

“Is it common for children with asperger’s or high functioning autism to also have oppositional defiant disorder?”

While it is common for many children and teens on the autism spectrum to exhibit some of the traits of Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), only about 10% of these young people actually have an ODD diagnosis.

ODD often occurs with other behavioral and mental health conditions (e.g., Autism and ADHD). In fact, it has been estimated that over 50% of the kids suffering from ODD are also suffers of some other disorder. There are plenty of other conditions that are more common in kids suffering from ODD with the majority of these centering around pronounced learning difficulties.

ODD is often diagnosed when the youngster with Asperger's (AS) or High-Functioning Autism (HFA) is in his or her teenage years. The symptoms, which vary in severity, include being irritated and annoyed by authority figures, which in turn leads to them becoming uncooperative and generally defiant.

Experts suggest that ODD affects around 10% of kids on the autism spectrum. ODD will be diagnosed by a specialist when the youngster has displayed a persistent pattern of disobedience towards authority figures (i.e., parents, teachers, etc.).
==> How To Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums In Children With High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's

Diagnosing conditions like ODD is actually quite difficult. However, you can use the list of symptoms below as a starting point. The ODD child:
  • speaks to others in a hateful manner
  • refuses to do anything when asked
  • is argumentative with adults
  • displays touchy, or irritable tendencies
  • displays persistent and prolonged tantrums
  • displays of defiance
  • deliberately tries to upset his or her peers
  • blames others for his or her own mistakes
  • appears to often be angry or irritable

Just because a youngster with AS or HFA is acting up doesn’t necessarily mean that he or she has ODD. It’s perfectly normal for all young people – including those on the spectrum – to test the boundaries, especially at the ages of 2 to 3, and during the teenage years. This is normally nothing to worry about as most of these children will grow out of it eventually.

Do you need the advice of a professional who specializes in parenting children and teens with Autism Spectrum Disorders?  Sign-up for Online Parent Coaching today.

There are a number of things that parents can do to successfully parent a youngster diagnosed with both AS or HFA - and ODD. Here are just a few tips:

1. You have to show that you are in control. Although kids with ODD have a lack of respect for authority figures, you must retain control. Create a "rules contract" to help with this. Write down your expectations on paper. This works because it is a more “formal system,” which the youngster may respond to since it is similar to the way he or she is managed at school. This contract will also help these young people realize that they are responsible for what they do. They need to learn that there are consequences for their actions. Once ODD is diagnosed, at least you know the reason behind the defiant behavior. You can also look into treatment options and therapy with your doctor’s advice.

2. If you are particularly concerned about your youngster, then you might want to take him or her to see
your family doctor. If the doctor is concerned that your youngster is presenting significant symptoms of ODD, then he will refer you to a psychiatrist who is familiar with young people that have such behavioral problems.

3. Too many moms and dads do not have the necessary tools to deal with ODD. They will normally react (rather than respond) when their youngster starts showing defiance by (a) giving in, (b) threatening, (c) yelling, or (d) negotiating. This isn’t the ideal thing to do, because you are showing your son or daughter that he or she can get what they want by behaving in an unacceptable manner.

4. Always deal with your youngster in a calm manner – no matter how frustrated you may be at the time.

5. Introduce rules, rewards and consequences to create wanted behaviors and reduce unwanted ones. A strongly defined structured environment will go a long way in preventing defiant behavior, or managing it if it should appear.
==> Parenting System that Significantly Reduces Defiant Behavior in Teens with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

6. When the youngster does something right, praise that behavior and reinforce what he or she has done. Whenever your youngster does something for you, be sure to let him or her know that you are grateful.

7. You no doubt know that kids on the spectrum need structure. The problem is that it can be difficult to decide on the right type of structure. Regular parenting techniques (e.g., time-outs, grounding) often don’t work with Asperger/ODD kids, because they will often simply use the time to plot some sort of revenge.

8. Carefully pick your battles – you can’t possibly win every one! Make sure that you pick the ones you can win, and then make sure that you DO win them.

9. ONLY talk over problems when your defiant youngster when he or she is calm.

10. NEVER give in to temptation and join in with the shouting. A "shouting match" always puts the ODD child in a one-up position relative to the parent.

11. Don't offer "false rewards" that are just intended to make your youngster feel better. Rewards that are given for the sole purpose of getting the child to calm down and act right will have worse repercussions in the long run – guaranteed!

12. Even though I mentioned “rewards” earlier, understand that rewards for observed positive behavior are the best way to deal with the ODD child.

==> More parenting methods for dealing with oppositional, defiant behavior in kids on the autism spectrum...

More resources for parents of children and teens with High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's:

==> How To Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums In Children With High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's

==> Parenting System that Significantly Reduces Defiant Behavior in Teens with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

==> Launching Adult Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Guide for Parents Who Want to Promote Self-Reliance

==> Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management to Children and Teens with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

==> Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism: Comprehensive Handbook

==> Unraveling The Mystery Behind Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Audio Book

==> Parenting System that Reduces Problematic Behavior in Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism


* Anonymous said... My 10 year old daughter has both, but as she ages, her temper gets calmer and she hasn't slammed a door in two years!!
* Anonymous said... We switched to gluten free diet. Her fits are almost none!

•    Anonymous said...Sometimes these discussions drive me crazy. especially when very revelvant age appropriate behaviours are blamed on our kids DX. Our kids might not proces all things the same but they can be taught. My 9 boy is mouthing off at present, thinks he is 16 and the boss and is pretty disrespectful. so are most of the 9 yo NT boys at his school. the only difference is that its taking jax and myself a very pain staking process to get to understand what is his business and what isnt and what is called disrespectful. many dx to do with behavioural issues that dont have specific proving (ADHD does) are more for the parent then the child. I dont mind if you have a go at me. lets just look at behaviours according to were a child is at, what they might be able to process or express.
•    Anonymous said...Yes Mine sure has ODD!
•    Anonymous said...Yes My son is ADHD, Aspergers, Mood Disorder NOS, ODD and insomnia. Recently his psychiatrist removed the ODD because he believe's that my son is not "defiant". He believes that my son's "defiance" is triggered by things that bother him because of his Aspergers such as, change in routine, over stimulation and from being so tired from his insomnia.
•    Anonymous said...Yes My son was diagnosed at 4 with ADHD and ODD and at 9 he got the Asperger diagnosis.
•    Anonymous said...Yes The Autism Discussion Page on FB is a wealth of information as well. I love the Parenting Asperger's Children page too.
•    Anonymous said...Yes The more I dealt with all of this with my own daughter, the more I realized all these labels are just that; fancy designations slapped onto observed behaviors. They don't necessarily indicate there's a specific "cure" (such as a medication) for the issue, or even a single "right" way to deal with it. In that sense, I agree that ODD is a "B.S. diagnosis". The opposition and/or the defiance is observable and real ... but those are just normal human responses to what happens around them and to them. Why does ANYONE behave this way? Usually, it's a defense mechanism of some sort.
•    Anonymous said...Yes V.S. Ramachandran and other prominent neuroscientists say that ODD is a b.s. diagnosis: look for the processing and/or anxiety issue underlying the behavior, rather than claiming opposition and defiance constitute a disorder in themselves.
•    Anonymous said...Yes We talk it out also when situations come up Lori. We try to 1) see if the situation really warranted the reaction. 2) What could we do differently the next time the situation arises. 3) What kind of outcome do we expect with our behavior? Do we want a positive reaction or a negative one? I try to get my son to see that everything he does has a consequence, be it positive or negative(That is what our therapist has suggested.) We role play to show the positive and negative solutions of certain behaviors ie anger/rage usually will have a negative reaction with people whereas if we can be calm and deal with the situation without yelling we can have a positive resolution. It is a slow process though.
•    Anonymous said...Yes Yes our Boy has a combo of everything!
•    Anonymous said...Yes YES! I just recently figured out that this is what my 9 year old daughter has, in addition to AS. We are having a lot of issues with her rage, and violence. ANY suggestions?? I would LOVE to hear. She is so smart, it makes it difficult to discipline her. Nothing seems to matter to her.
•    Anonymous said...Yes Yes. ASD in general has many other things that occur - ODD, ADD, ADHD, OCD, etc. It's different for every child. My 13 yr old is a rager as well Monica. He has gotten better as he matures but still struggles with things that us NTs could care less about. What I have read and heard from other Psychologists is that Their brains are so emotionally centered (especially in the heat of the moment) that their rational side doesn't work until after the meltdown/rage. They can train their brain to work more rationally but it takes work. My son is working with his Psychologist using role play to 1) Figure out if the situation is Fight or Flight (worth the energy to fight with words/fists or not) 2) Figure out the consequences of the first decision. 3) Act - which sometimes means going back to #1. NTs do this figuring unconsciously, ASD brains do not. At home, we talk through situations as they come up with the same 1, 2, 3 idea as he is getting agitated. The more you help guide them to the more accepted response, the better they will behave when not around you (School, etc). The most important thing I think is to make sure they understand that their emotions are valid, even if you personally don't agree with their feelings at the time. They need to feel understood, appreciated, and SAFE. Listen to their reasoning and then guide them to the more acceptable response.
•    Anonymous said...Yes, I have 2 with Aspies and ODD

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High-Functioning Autistic Teens and Oppositional Defiance

“I have a 14-year-old son with high functioning autism who behaves in a way that mystifies me...I cannot do anything right, according to him. I had never heard of Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and after reading the symptoms, I think that he should be seeing a doctor about possibly having this disorder. I have noticed symptoms like the ones mentioned in him since he was very young.  I have tried to talk to him about it and he has told me that he feels out of control at times with his temper, especially when it comes to people of authority. I have learned to not talk about anything he might turn on. I e-mail him across the house and have learned to speak to him in his language. Is it possible for a child to have both disorders? What action should parents take in these cases?”

Many parents have difficulty recognizing the difference between a strong-willed, emotional teen with High-Functioning Autism (HFA) or Aspergers’ (AS) and one with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). Clearly, there's a range between the usual independence-seeking behavior of teens and out-of-control defiant behavior. It's normal to exhibit oppositional behaviors at certain stages of an adolescent’s development. However, your teen’s issue may be more serious if his behaviors:
  • Have lasted at least six months
  • Are persistent
  • Are clearly disruptive to the family or school environment

The following are behaviors associated with ODD:
  • Tantrums
  • Spiteful or vindictive behavior
  • Refusal to comply with adults’ requests or rules
  • Difficulty maintaining friendships
  • Deliberate annoyance of other people
  • Blaming others for mistakes or misbehavior
  • Argumentativeness with parents, teachers and other authority figures
  • Anger and resentment
  • Aggressiveness toward siblings and peers
  • Acting touchy and easily annoyed
  • Academic problems

Oppositional defiant behavior often occurs along with other behavioral or mental health problems, such as autism spectrum disorders, depression, ADHD, and anxiety. The symptoms of defiant behavior may be difficult to distinguish from those of other behavioral or mental health problems. It's important to diagnose and treat any co-occurring disorders, because they can create or worsen irritability and defiance if left untreated.

Stressful changes that disrupt an HFA or AS teen's sense of consistency increase the risk of disruptive behavior. However, though these changes may help explain disrespectful or oppositional behavior, they don't excuse it.

If your HFA or AS teen has signs and symptoms common to ODD, make an appointment with your physician. After an initial evaluation, the physician may refer you to a mental health professional who can help make a diagnosis and create the right treatment plan for your teen.

==> Discipline for Defiant Aspergers and High-Functioning Autistic Teens

Here's some information to help you prepare for an appointment:
  1. Write down your family's key personal information (e.g., factors that you suspect may have contributed to changes in your teen's behavior).
  2. Make a list of stressors that your teen or close family members have recently experienced.
  3. Write down the signs and symptoms your teen has been experiencing – and for how long.
  4. Take a trusted family member or friend with you to the appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed.
  5. Make a list of your teen's key medical information (e.g., any physical or mental health conditions that he has been diagnosed with).
  6. Write down the names of any medications your teen is taking (include any over-the-counter medications).
  7. Write down questions to ask the physician in advance so that you can make the most of your appointment.

Questions to ask the doctor if your HFA or AS teen is referred to a mental health provider include:
  1. What treatment approach do you recommend?
  2. What factors do you think might be contributing to my teenager’s issues?
  3. What else can I and my family do to help my teenager?
  4. Should he be screened for any other mental health problems?
  5. Should I tell his teachers about this diagnosis?
  6. Is this condition likely temporary or chronic?
  7. Is my teen at increased risk of any long-term complications from this condition?
  8. Do you recommend family therapy?
  9. Do you recommend any changes at home or school to encourage my teen’s recovery?
  10. What do you believe is causing his symptoms?
  11. Are there any other possible causes?

Being ready to answer the physician's questions may reserve time to go over any points you want to talk about in-depth. You should be prepared to answer the following questions from your physician:
  1. What are your teen's symptoms?
  2. When did you first notice these symptoms?
  3. How would you describe your teen's home and family life?
  4. How often over the last six months has your teen been touchy, easily annoyed or deliberately annoying to others?
  5. How often over the last six months has your teen been spiteful or vindictive, or blamed others for his own mistakes?
  6. How often over the last six months has your teen been angry or lost his temper?
  7. How often over the last six months has your teen argued with you or his teachers?
  8. How often has he refused to follow through with your rules or requests?
  9. How have you been handling your teen's disruptive behavior?
  10. How do you typically discipline your teen?
  11. Have your teen's teachers reported similar symptoms?
  12. Has your teen been diagnosed with any other medical conditions?
  13. Do any particular situations seem to trigger defiant behavior in your teen?


Treating oppositional defiant behavior (whether or not your teen has a formal diagnosis of ODD) involves several types of psychotherapy and parent-education training. The cornerstones of treatment for oppositional defiance usually include:

1. Social skills training: Your teen may benefit from therapy that will help him learn how to interact more positively and effectively with peers.

2. Parent training: A mental health provider with experience treating oppositional behavior may help you develop skills that will allow you to parent in a way that's more positive and less frustrating for you and your teen. In some cases, your teen may participate in this type of training with you, so that everyone in your family develops shared goals for how to handle problems. As part of parent training, you may learn how to:
  • Remain calm and unemotional in the face of opposition.
  • Recognize and praise your teen's good behaviors and positive characteristics.
  • Offer acceptable choices to your teen, giving him a certain amount of control.
  • Limit consequences to those that can be consistently reinforced and last for a limited amount of time.
  • Establish a schedule for the family that includes specific meals that will be eaten at home together, and specific activities one or both parents will do with the teen.
  • Avoid power struggles.
3. Individual and family therapy: Individual counseling for your teen may help him learn to manage anger and express his feelings more healthfully. Family counseling may help improve your communication and relationships, and help members of your family learn how to work together.

4. Cognitive problem solving training: This type of therapy is aimed at helping your teen identify and change through patterns that are leading to behavior problems. Research shows that an approach called collaborative problem solving — in which you and your teen work together to come up with solutions that work for both of you — is highly effective at improving oppositional-related problems.

Although some parent-management techniques may seem like common sense, learning to use them in the face of opposition isn't easy, especially if there are other stressors at home. Learning these skills will require consistent practice and patience. Most important in treatment is for you to show consistent, unconditional love and acceptance of your HFA or AS teen — even during difficult and disruptive situations. Don't be too hard on yourself. This process can be tough for even the most patient mom or dad.


Parenting Strategies—

At home, you can begin chipping away at problem behaviors in your HFA or AS teen by practicing the following:
  • Develop a united front. Work with your partner/spouse to ensure consistent and appropriate discipline procedures.
  • Set up a routine. Develop a consistent daily schedule for your teen. Asking your teen to help develop that routine can be helpful.
  • Set limits and enforce consistent reasonable consequences.
  • Recognize and praise your teen's positive behaviors. Be as specific as possible (e.g., "I really liked the way you helped pick up your room tonight").
  • Pick your battles carefully. Avoid power struggles. Almost everything can turn into a power struggle — if you let it.
  • Model the behavior you want your teen to exhibit.
  • Build in time together. Develop a consistent weekly schedule that involves you and teen being together.
  • Assign your teen a household chore that's essential and that won't get done unless he does it. Initially, it's important to set your teen up for success with tasks that are relatively easy to achieve, then gradually blend in more important and challenging expectations.
  • Take care of yourself. Counseling can provide an outlet for your own mental health concerns that could interfere with the successful management of your teen's defiant behavior. If you're depressed or anxious, that could lead to disengagement from your teen, which can trigger or worsen oppositional behaviors. Let go of things that you or your teen did in the past. Start each day with a fresh outlook and a clean slate. Learn ways to calm yourself, and take time for yourself. Develop outside interests, get some exercise, and spend some time away from your teen to restore your energy.
  • Remind yourself that your teen’s defiance is most likely a temporary inconvenience rather than a permanent catastrophe.

At first, your teen is not likely to be cooperative or appreciate your changed response to his behavior. Setbacks and relapses are normal, so be prepared with a plan to manage those times. In fact, behavior often temporarily worsens when new limits and expectations are set. However, with persistence and consistency, the initial hard work will pay off with improved behavior.

==> Discipline for Defiant Aspergers and High-Functioning Autistic Teens


•    Anonymous said… Absolutely possible! My daughter has High Functioning Autism and ODD. We have found that by changing how we approach certain triggers, we can avoid the ODD eruptions. If she does blow up, we've also learned that it is not the time to push her or try to persuade her unless it is a safety issue. she can only have a learning experience once she has calmed down.
•    Anonymous said… Following. Yes please which meds have been given and which worked best in your situations
•    Anonymous said… I am exhausted! What meds have helped? I have a 17 year old with Aspergers and a suspected ODD diagnosis.
•    Anonymous said… I believe it to be under the umbrella... ocd and add/odd are subcharacteristics of HFA and Aspergers. My son was orignianlly diagnosed ODD/OCD/Major Depression (missing the BIGGER picture for a couple of years until finding a doctor who knew what Aspergers looked like). Once medicated (this took time to find right fit), years of counselling and finding something he enjoyed and was good at, much of the ODD symptomology extinguished. It's understandable how one would be oppositional when his/her life is so "out of control"- anger, fear, frustration all leads to a normal brain to want to gain control over his/her environment; couple that with the angst of teenage years for the neurotypical as well and you have a big mess. Most difficult years for me and mine were ages 11 to 16. Again, medication helped tremendously; in addition to, all of the other components to a comprehensive plan (counselling, family support). I point to the medication because if one is crawling out of his/her own skin...behavior modification will not work. My son is 31 today, still medicated and is successful and happy (gainfully employed, lives on his own, is delightful). It's a long hard road, but worth the pain.
•    Anonymous said… I do think it is unfortunate to label a particular behaviour as a disorder. We have had occasions over the years when my son has dug his heels in and refused to do as expected of him. He quite logically explains that he is unable to comply with our expectations at times when he doesn't feel in control of a situation and feels over-anxious. He is 19 now and recently started playing guitar. A family friend helps run a folk club and invited us to go along. I was amazed the first time that Oliver got up when invited and performed in front of everybody. He attended again on the next meeting and again performed. My friend had arranged to pick up us again a couple of weeks later and I was so looking forward to this but Oliver made it clear that he wan't going to go this time. I was disappointed but nothing would persuade him. AFTER the event when I was able to talk to Oliver calmly he explained that he just hadn't felt ready with his new song but would go again in the future when he felt better prepared. We have been a couple of times since. The real problem over the years was always my own frustration with his decisions when they interfered with my own plans but if I stayed objective and calm we could in due course talk things over together. I could help Oliver understand my disappointment when things didn't go as planned and Oliver would help me see how difficult it was for him to do things if he was over-tired, unprepared, stressed or just having a bad day.
•    Anonymous said… I have looked at PDA and although there are similarities with ODD and PDA, our son is definitely ODD and both of these diagnoses can operate in ASD. We have been on our journey for more than five years and with therapy, medication and great support we've made incredible accomplishments with our son. It is as many have said though...very exhausting.
•    Anonymous said… PDA strategies are ery different to strategies for ODD. Reducing demands and providing an anxiety free environment is ideal. Anxiety free isnt possible but a happier calm child has a better chance of learning strategies to deal with demands.
•    Anonymous said… I was that child...tho they did not have a label for it back then. I would recommend to be respectful and ackowledge his feelings but at the same time dont walk on egg shells. Use "i" statements like "i need u to..." and avoid labels like "youre" this and that etc. At the same time clear boundaries and expectations and a consistant reward and consequence system. Another huge thing is the consequence having something to do with the action and not being a punishment. I know this wouldve helped if my parents had known better. but i got a lot of name calling from my parents and was made fun of by kids at school as well as my parents. It cannot have been easy for them and they mustve gotten some relief out of letting off some steam. A psychiatrist even recommended that they slap me (yes a westwood, ma psychiatrist who is still practising). I would say that has been the most detrimental thing to my aspergers and ODD and would not recommend it.
•    Anonymous said… I've never heard of ODD but it sounds like my daughter might have this. Thanks for mentioning it.
•    Anonymous said… My aspie gas O.D.D. & believe, it's a challenge!!!!
•    Anonymous said… My daughter was dx with ODD 10 years ago and it never sat right with me, after researching PDA I believe she has that
•    Anonymous said… My son has Asperger's and O.D.D. We are also questioning P.D.A. but CAMHS aren't keen on giving it as a diagnosis. Worth reading about it though. My son is 15, not hit puberty yet and it's really hard going most of the time x
•    Anonymous said… My son has both its very difficult and trying  😣
•    Anonymous said… My son is 14 and is diagnosed ODD, Aspergers and Mixed Mood/Anxiety. His first diagnosis was ODD aged 9.
•    Anonymous said… My son is on seraquel, Prozac and trazadone ..he's 18 and doing much much better, hang in there!
•    Anonymous said… My son was diagnosed when he was 4 with ASD ADHD and odd its a real challenge to say the least..
•    Anonymous said… My sons defiance seems to come from anxiety. Wanting to gain/regain control because he frequently feels powerless or vulnerable. Not sure if he has ODD but giving him explanations about why things need to be done and helping him find ways to feel more in control and powerful sometimes has really helped. The more I push the more he pushes back. You have to bend and manoeuvre. Tiring and time consuming but works for us.
•    Anonymous said… Not only possible..very likely, Autism always pairs with another disorder from what I have been told through the many hospitals and psychiatrists we have seen, my son who is 18 now was diagnosed with both way back when, it's a long hard struggle and a lot of work, do the testing for diagnosing ..stay strong friend!
•    Anonymous said… ODD and Aspergers combined have been the most challenging diagnoses I have ever encountered! I am worn out as a parent. Meds have helped but it has been a tough journey.
•    Anonymous said… Our 11 year old is on the Spectrum as high functining (aka Aspergers) with multiple diagnoses, one being ODD. We have him in therapy and he's learning how to manage it. It is definitely exhausting, but very treatable. Hang in there...if you can find a support group for'll find that helps.
•    Anonymous said… Our son was diagnosed at age12 with high function autism. He is now 15 and I strongly feel he also has ODD.
•    Anonymous said… Please research PDA. People with ASD with Demand avoidance behaviours usually have Pathological Demand Avoidance. If they dont have ASD then they probably have ODD. PDA is part of the Autism spectrum.
•    Anonymous said… Ugh, what do you do when this keeps on into adulthood?
•    Anonymous said… Vincent my 4 yr old seems to have ODD. I'm not sure if it is a symptom of Autism or a standing disorder in him. I was told, I needed to verify if he was indeed not Autistic because ODD can be a symptom of Autism. Not sure how I feel about my developmentally delayed child possibly being diagnosed as Autistic when I am not even sure if I believe he is, and know in my heart that he could be due to how he is AND his delays. I'd hate for him to be misdiagnosed whem he very well may just have ODD. So, If I were you I would research and speak to multiple professionals about weather or not this is a symptom of or an actual disorder for your individual child.
•    Anonymous said… We have tried several meds throughout the years (Clonodine, Intuniv, Prozac etc)! What worked the best for my child was Seroquel.
•    Anonymous said… Yes our son was diagnosed with Aspergers and ODD at 15, although he had these symptoms for years...The medicine Lamictal has really helped!

Post your comment below…

Helping Your Other Kids Cope with Their "Special Needs" Sibling

"My autistic son (high functioning) is 11 and my youngest son is 4. My 11-year-old verbally attacks my 4-year-old and my 4-year-old just stands there looking dazed and confused. How can I get my 11-year-old to stop doing this and how can I protect my 4-year-old from it? It is really starting to take a toll on my relationship with my husband. (The 11-year-old is his stepson and the 4-year-old is ours together.) Not to mention the toll it is taking on my 4-year-old. He loves his brother so much and wants nothing more than to spend time with him. His feelings get so hurt when his brother yells, screams, calls names, and tells him he hates him. I have tried sending 11-year-old to his room, talking to him, taking things away, watching the situation and trying to stop it before it happens, but it happens so quickly, it’s hard to see it coming. What can I do?"

First of all, find a time when you and your husband can sit down and have a talk with your 11-year-old, without the 4-year-old being present. Calmly, each of you should tell him how sad and upset you feel when he yells and screams at his little brother.

The goal is to make him feel guilty about this behavior and to understand that it is unacceptable. Point out to him how awful it would be if you and your husband acted that way toward him. Ask him how he would feel if you yelled, screamed, and called him names. Be specific describing such a situation to help him understand how bad he would feel. Then make the point that his little brother feels the same way.

Tell him that he cannot continue yelling, screaming, and calling names and that if he does, he will be punished. The punishment should be “time out” in a room (other than his bedroom) alone for 15 minutes with no fun activities available to him, following by apologizing to his brother.

Do this every time he acts inappropriately. Each time after his time out, sit him down and explain again why he must not act this way and that it is unacceptable. Find out why he had “a meltdown.” Help him find an alternate way that he could have handled the situation. Have him practice it. You may have to do this many, many times.

To stop verbal abuse, you may need to use other forms of behavior modification as well. You must determine the need that your son’s behavior fulfills and teach him a replacement behavior. For example, if he yells when his brother uses his things, teach him to come to you with a single code word, and when he does, help him handle the situation. This takes time. If the youngster is severely out of control, then removing the youngster from the situation is required. As you know, this may be easier said than done.

Behavior modification should be started early. You may need the help of a counselor or psychiatrist to help you deal with this now before it escalates into physical abuse. Hopefully your 11-year-old will learn to communicate the cause of his anger and get his needs met by doing so. Unfortunately, kids who get what they want because of misbehavior are likely to continue and escalate such behavior.

Your son may have Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) or another disorder in tandem with high-functioning autism. Some theorists claim that ODD is a result of incomplete development; the ODD youngster has never completed the developmental tasks of normal kids. The youngster is stuck at the 3-year-old level of development and never grows out of it. In this case, medical intervention may be necessary.

Another theory about ODD is that it is a result of negative interactions, possibly interactions that occur away from home. This theory states that having successfully used anger and abuse as a way to get needs met, the youngster continues to use it.

ODD does not usually occur alone. About 35% of ODD kids have an affective disorder and 20% may have a mood disorder, such as Bipolar Disorder. Other ODD kids have personality or learning disorders. It is imperative that your son is evaluated for other disorders.

==> How To Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums In Children With High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's

==> Parenting System that Significantly Reduces Defiant Behavior in Teens with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

==> Launching Adult Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Guide for Parents Who Want to Promote Self-Reliance

==> Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management to Children and Teens with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

==> Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism: Comprehensive Handbook

==> Unraveling The Mystery Behind Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Audio Book

==> Highly Effective Research-Based Parenting Strategies for Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

Here's what other parents have had to say:

*   Anonymous said... Social stories on sharing, correct behavior, controlling outbursts, etc.. are a good start. it seems the communication level is way off between the brothers. the age difference is the most obvious, but also, how they approach one another. It's hard for the 4 yr old to understand AS, so he'll approach his brother when the mood strikes, not knowing if his older brother is even approachable at that time. I see this with our 15 yr old son & our 6 yr old son w/AS. I would suggest that you ask your son's doctor/therapist about Parent Child Interactive Therapy (PCIT). We did this for 6 months & it made a world of difference. It teaches you & family how to communicate with an AS child, how to set rules/boundaries & discipline efforts that really work!! I was amazed at the positive changes in our lives!! It takes a month before you see changes, but stick with it... positive changes will come!! Praying for your family!!

•    Anonymous said... I have given my daughter a trashcan and told her to say her words in it.That way everybody knows that it is not intended to hurt them,just an Aspie out of control.So when she needed to say things she could grab the trashcan.Incidentally I don't think we have need of the trashcan much anymore.Same thing when I taught Kindergarten many years ago and the potty mouth years emerged.I just told they kids they could only say those words in the bathroom and to feel free to go to the bathroom and say them to their hearts content.When they figured out it wasted their playtime they quit.Of course,there were not Aspie kids but the daughter and the trashcan are.

•    Anonymous said... Recommend reading and applying 'The Explosive Child' by Dr Greene - explains why rigid, chronically inflexible, easily frustrated children have meltdowns & how to handle situations

•    Anonymous said... This is one of my biggest struggles with my 13 yr old and 8 yr old. This has always been very difficult to deal with, and hard to figure out where to even start. For me it is not his choice in words, but seeming apathy and dislike for her. She asks often why he hates her, and has begun to take every word he says personally.

•    Anonymous said... About protecting your 4-year old- watch for the pre-signs that your son is having a hard time, or escalating- sometimes they go from 0-10 with no warning, but try to find out what his triggers are and remove them. For example, the trigger may be video games, so remove all electronics preemptively. If he becomes escalated- remove your 4-year old immediately to another room, and back away from your son- do not give him any verbal, as he most likely cannot process verbal information when he is escalated coming at him. Give him space most importantly, and remove your other children from the room to protect them. We have been fortunate to have home ABA services and it has changed our home environment completely, we have 2 other young children which their lives have also improved since the therapy in the home. This is long-winded, but I really hope your son gets the services he needs smile emoticon

•    Anonymous said... My 12 year old aspie will verbally attack his 11 year old sister. She has learned over time to (with our direction) that he doesn't mean it, and doesn't have control. When he triggers, she's trained herself to walk away. When she was younger we used hand signals. So when her brother would start to escalate we'd give her the signal and she would walk away. It took some time for her to understand the signal, but once she was old enough to understand her brothers behaviors she walks away before he escalates. They play together extremely well now! There are still times when she has to walk away, but she knows what will trigger his behaviors and is in more control.

•    Anonymous said... Thank you so very much for all of the invaluable information! I am on the site and I am also going to post more here on the page.

•    Anonymous said... We use many strategies from Michelle Garcia Winner on to help our son know what is expected, what is unexpected and that other people form their opinion of you based on your actions within social situations. Writing it down in a chart helps our son "see" it. Hope the information is helpful for you.

•    Anonymous said... You need to get a home ABA therapist to help your son, this is not done intentionally and is not in your son's control- he needs to be taught these things explicitly and in a supportive, understanding, therapeutic manner. Your school system is required under IDEA to provide these services to you as part of his IEP- they will typically give you a bank of hours, such as 25 hours at a time. But, the important thing is- not all BCBA's are the same- you need to have someone who knows what they are doing, i.e. experienced, Master's degree prepared at a minimum and with the BCBA certification. Hope this helps, but just remember that your son is not doing this on purpose.

Please post your comment below...

Conduct Disorder in Children with High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's

"My 12 year old son is diagnosed with high functioning autism and conduct disorder (also the suspicion of ADHD). Any other parents out there with this combination in their child? Any advice for us? This has been a very difficult road - with no end in sight. My husband and I are feeling both the physical and mental effects of the stress we have to endure on a daily basis. We are desperate at this point."

Although several studies have suggested an association between violent crime and High-Functioning Autism, few have examined the underlying reasons. All kids display oppositional or aggressive behavior from time to time, especially when they are upset, tired, or hungry. Oppositional behavior (e.g., arguing, lying, and disobeying) is a normal part of development for kids and  teenagers. When this behavior is frequent or excessive, affects the youngster’s home or school life, or violates the rights of others, a conduct disorder may be present.

Conduct disorder (CD) is the most severe psychiatric disorder in childhood, and occurs more frequently in boys than in girls. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the disorder affects an estimated 1-4 percent of teenagers between the ages of 9 and 17 years. Young people with this disorder repeatedly violate the rights of others, and display aggressive, destructive, and deceitful behavior. Identifying the signs and symptoms of CD, and beginning treatment as early in life as possible, is essential in order to prevent the disorder and prognosis from worsening.

==> Parenting System That Stops Meltdowns and Tantrums Before They Start

What is conduct disorder?

Children with CD repeatedly violate the personal or property rights of others and the basic expectations of society. A diagnosis of CD is likely when symptoms continue for 6 months or longer. CD is known as a "disruptive behavior disorder" because of its impact on kids and their families, neighbors, and schools.

Another disruptive behavior disorder, called Oppositional Defiant Disorder ODD), may be a precursor of CD. A youngster is diagnosed with ODD when he or she shows signs of being hostile and defiant for at least 6 months. ODD may start as early as the preschool years, while CD generally appears when kids are older. OCD and CD are not co-occurring conditions.

The Best Way To Help Oppositional Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism:


What are the signs of conduct disorder?

Symptoms of conduct disorder include:
  • Aggressive behavior that harms or threatens other people or animals
  • Destructive behavior that damages or destroys property
  • Early tobacco, alcohol, and substance use and abuse
  • Lying or theft
  • Precocious sexual activity
  • Truancy or other serious violations of rules

Those with CD or ODD also may experience:
  • Academic difficulties
  • Difficulty staying in adoptive, foster, or group homes
  • Higher rates of depression, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts, and suicide
  • Higher rates of injuries, school expulsions, and problems with the law
  • Poor relationships with peers or adults
  • Sexually transmitted diseases

How common is conduct disorder?

Conduct disorder affects 1 to 4 percent of 9- to 17-year-olds, depending on exactly how the disorder is defined (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services). The disorder appears to be more common in boys than in girls and more common in cities than in rural areas.

Who is at risk for conduct disorder?

Research shows that some cases of CD begin in early childhood, often by the preschool years. In fact, some infants who are especially "fussy" appear to be at risk for developing CD.  

Other factors that may make a youngster more likely to develop CD include:
  • Abuse or violence
  • Crowding
  • Early institutionalization
  • Early maternal rejection
  • Family neglect
  • Large family size
  • Parental marital discord
  • Parental mental illness
  • Poverty
  • Separation from parents, without an adequate alternative caregiver

What help is available for families?

Although CD is one of the most difficult behavior disorders to treat, young people often benefit from a range of services that include:
  • Community-based services that focus on the young person within the context of family and community influence
  • Family therapy
  • Training for parents on how to handle problematic behavior
  • Training in problem-solving skills for kids and teens on the autism spectrum

Some child and teenager behaviors are hard to change after they have become ingrained. Therefore, the earlier the CD is identified and treated, the better the chance for success. Most High-Functioning Autistic and Asperger's children/teens with CD are probably reacting to events and situations in their lives. Some recent studies have focused on promising ways to prevent CD among "at-risk" kids on the autism spectrum. In addition, more research is needed to determine if biology is a factor in CD.

Parents or other caregivers who notice signs of CD or ODD in a youngster or teenager should:
  • Find family network organizations.
  • Get accurate information from libraries, hotlines, or other sources.
  • If necessary, talk with a mental health or social services professional, such as a teacher, counselor, psychiatrist, or psychologist specializing in childhood and teenager disorders.
  • Pay careful attention to the signs, try to understand the underlying reasons, and then try to improve the situation.
  • Talk to other families in their communities.

People who are not satisfied with the mental health services they receive should discuss their concerns with their provider, ask for more information, and/or seek help from other sources.

4 Crucial Mistakes in Dealing with Oppositional Behavior:

How to Identify Conduct Disorder in Your High-Functioning Autistic or Asperger's Child—

Step 1—Learn about the risk factors for developing CD (e.g., having a parent with a mood disorder, ADHD, substance abuse disorder, or CD). A history of abuse or neglect, exposure to violence, inconsistent or excessively harsh discipline, poverty, and overcrowded living conditions are other risk factors for CD.

Step 2—Take note of any aggressive behavior (e.g., bullying, threatening, or intimidating others). Autistic kids with CD often initiate both verbal and physical fights, and have a history of violence and cruelty toward people and animals. More serious signs of aggressive behavior include the use of weapons and a history of sexual assault.

Step 3—Consider whether prior destructive acts were intentional or unintentional. While all kids have the potential to damage property due to carelessness or reckless play, kids with CD deliberately cause damage to the property of others.

Step 4—Watch carefully for other signs of CD (e.g., lying, theft, truancy, substance abuse, serious rule violations, and precocious sexual activity). High-Functioning Autistic and Asperger's kids with this disorder may also experience symptoms of depression, have poor relationships with family members and peers, and experience significant academic difficulties.

Step 5—Speak with your youngster’s teacher to get her opinion, and discuss your youngster’s symptoms with a mental health professional who specializes in disorders of childhood. Read all you can about the symptoms of CD so that you are better able to identify the symptoms in your youngster.

==> Parenting System That Stops Meltdowns and Tantrums Before They Start


•    Anonymous said… 13 yr old with aspergers and adhd
•    Anonymous said… Having answers doesnt change your little fellows . He is the se boy . Find all the good traites to his syndrome and concentrate on intervention. I have a beautiful 8 yrs old boy and the stress i felt has lessoned as i can now get help . All the best.
•    Anonymous said… I feel your pain we have a 10 year old adopted daughter that we are lost with
•    Anonymous said… I'm there with you--my 10 year old son-who isn't CD but ADHD- is like a light switch--just a flip of the switch and he's like a different child--angry, 'mouthy', etc. But, like the light switch, can switch right back and be the calm, pleasant boy we know.
•    Anonymous said… It is a difficult road, but it will get better.
•    Anonymous said… It really does get better. Really, it does. I met my stepson 4 years ago and he has come such a long way. I went from having to pretty much follow him everywhere he went to make sure he was safe and not running away to now he can walk to school with the other kids. We still have our moments but they are so much easier to deal with. Consistancy is the key!
•    Anonymous said… Maturity does wonders, but we wouldn't have survived and made it in public school, until he was a junior, without medication. We treated the anxiety of Aspergers and later dealt with the ADD for school goals. He is a white food eater so any food approaches were not available to us. Early on we had many incidences of out of control emotion and frustration....Prozac and Abilify finally stabilized our son. Home school allowed us to remove the ADD meds...he works cooperatively at his pace. He is now 17....and has grown out of his control issues and reactive behavior.
•    Anonymous said… My 13 year old has Asperger's and ADHD, diagnosed when he was 10. Best advice I can give is keep a consistent schedule. Post checklists and schedules everywhere to keep everyone accountable. Limit computer/TV/game system time. We are also in weekly therapy for assistance with coping with anxiety, social groups, and on medication for the anxiety and ADHD, both at very low doses.
•    Anonymous said… My 7 year old daughter has just diagnoised with Adhd and aspergers. It is not easy we are still learning at this stage it is a hard journey and I am sure it is just the start. X
•    Anonymous said… My 8 year old son was diagnosed with ADHD and ODD at 5 years of age and has had a diagnosis of HFA. After working with Autism for 30 years. His diagnosis was no surprise. Unfortunately there is not a lot of support for our HFA kids. How ever sites like this makes you realise your not on your own. And you can pick up lots of information from parents in the same boat.
•    Anonymous said… My daughter turned 17 in sept, i also found out finally that she has ASD aswel xx we have our ups an downs, but I wouldn't changer her x
•    Anonymous said… My son 15 has exactly same condition. It's been few ups and down, but he is doing very well now. He is in mainstream high school. Message me in here, if you like to chat. It's helps to talk about it. We've been there. This journey will continue forever, however, not all bad
•    Anonymous said… My son has adhd asd language prossesing disorder.spd age 11
•    Anonymous said… My son has been dignosed with a regulatory disorder it where he acts out 7 different disorders which are aspergers adhd add and autism and sensory and other ones but the one he shows the most is aspergers and autism if anybody out there has any tips to get them to listen to you when needed I have tryed many different ways to get him to listen to me
•    Anonymous said… My son is 16. Undiagnosed as yet . Takes forever in UK. He probably has Asperger's. Is very bright. Model pupil at school. At home very uncommunicative. Doesn't eat with the family. Anything that upsets him leads to a retaliation. He has cut electric leads to my radio, thrown my clothes round my room, broken raw eggs including shells into cooked pasta, thrown an egg against granite splash back, poured a bottle of cooking oil down the sink. This morning went down to find he had thrown uncooked mince into the sink and broken off wooden trim in my kitchen. I have sought help by speaking to CAMHS , the mental health dept for kids, but he has refused to go to appointments and when someone came to the house he kicked off when they left. We are quite religious but never ask him to join us in prayer. We call him for meals and I try and make food he likes or stock up on pizza, quiche , cheese pasties....whatever. The trigger yesterday was that I forgot to get quiche. I have been told to talk to him that he has to learn to control his emotions. We all feel upset must learn not to act out our frustrations. My added problem is that my 2 year old has been diagnosed with a very rare muscle condition and needs a great deal of care equivalent to a baby of 6 months. I have 2 other kids aged 14 and 9 who are being squeezed out because of the needs of their siblings. So I try and make special time for them. Communication is the main problem with my eldest.
•    Anonymous said… My son is almost 12 so I've been there. It does get better. We used medication for about 2 years to help him clearly think. We used concerts because it had the least side effects and is out of the system in 12 hours. When we decided to homeschool we stopped the meds and started using essential oils. It is very important to have the same or close to the same routine every day. Don't surprise him with something last minute or it will cause a meltdown. We also did family therapy for a while to help him realize getting so angry was his choice not something we were doing to him. He still has some ego issues and if he feels he is right there is no telling him he is wrong. He totally compares with Sheldon off the big band theory. It does get better just keep you're head up and make sure you let him know when something isn't exceptable.
•    Anonymous said… Need more details! Do you mean following your instructions and directions? Or acknowledging your voice when you are simply trying to gain his focus? What does he do in those situations and what have you tried? Then I can share my insight with you, would love to help. Ty
•    Anonymous said… Pathological demand avoidance , conduct disorder call it what you want .... Life is miserable and tense!
•    Anonymous said… Same. My son is 7, but I hope he doesn't get conduct disorder. He's got some pretty serious angry outbursts.
•    Anonymous said… There is a clear link between aspergers, add, and odd and allergies Still trying to work out what it is
•    Anonymous said… Yes 2 out of 3 of my sons have autism. My 12 yr old has autism, he is verbal and high function. My 11 yr old has Aspergers and ADHD. It also is a daily struggle, but it has been a long road to get to this point. They do talk therapy , IEP'S and medications for anxiety, depression, hyperactivity and inattention. Overall with these interventions, love and support they are progressing daily...but it can be a daily struggle. Feel free to private message me if you would like any advice. Best wishes
•    Anonymous said… I am looking in to the option of homeschooling but many disagree.
•    Anonymous said… I often wonder if there aren’t so many more undiagnosed kids out there judging by the amount of children who are disruptive in certain ways & who also show signs of Aspergers.
•    Anonymous said… It depends. Everyone’s different, but my son works best one on one, full attention... work done on computer / tablet He so smart and knows it, but anxiety issues don’t let him get it all out until comfortable . Of course include times of socialization, time with peers( if you can) my son likes his alone time mostly. Advocate helped.
•    Anonymous said… My son 16 yr ASD ADHD + ODD. Always remember that your child is a complicated combination. Every specialist letter about our son starts with "Ben is a very complex boy..................". When attending therapies or looking for strategies to help your child remember, to consider each condition has an influence on your childs behaviour. Over all what we find with our boy is that the ASD (aspergers) makes him anxious, timid, routine driven and socially awkward at times. The ADHD overides this sometimes, he can be forward, busy, loud and in your face. The ODD makes him reluctant and suspicious to follow instructions blindly, he questions everything and clashes with peers and teachers. But all together he is funny, loving, smart, friendly, helpful, great with younger kids, I could go on and on. But as I said my advice is always keep in mind his multiple conditions because what works for one doesnt work for the other, you have to become a detective and work out what suits your child in particular.
•    Anonymous said… My son had a late diagnosis finally,after all the years of stress, problems at school,ect( too much to list) at12 yrs old. He is 14 now. We still have our days,he’s going into HS but home schooling works best. Getting an advocate was on of the best things we did. And having his 504 plan and IEP /ARD in order is key!!
•    Anonymous said… Not specifically, but I have a child diagnosed with ADHD and ODD (as well as a few other things) and is suspected of being on the spectrum, but they're not comfortable diagnosing, yet. I also have an Aspie who can be rather aggressive and mean and when he was 12, I had to give him more freedom through the day in order to have a calmer, more agreeable child in the home. What helped the first child (ADHD, ODD) was dietary changes. I took her to an integrative medicine doctor and got a full work up, as we'd been told for years that she had no allergies, etc, and I just couldn't believe she would behave those ways unless something was going on in her body. I was correct and we had to put her on a special diet. It's like night and day. She's so much gentler and kinder and cooperative now. Less hostile, less anxious (we also found out she has an anxiety problem, which the dietary changes also helped). Interestingly enough, my Aspie also has dietary issues. They both have bodies that find it hard to detox on a standard American diet, no matter how healthy it is. They need to mostly eat foods in their natural states or as close to it as possible. Ms. ADHD has confirmed methylation issues (possibly MTHFR mutation, but we haven't tested for that, yet...the integrative medicine doctor tested for methylation pathway blockages without needing to do a genetic test). I truly believe that behavioral issues in children are directly related to a biological cause, if we find it. I don't mean simply a different neurological type, but an actual biological cause (usually in the gut, check out info on the gut-brain connection). I hope something I shared helps. Good luck!
•    Anonymous said… One of our biggest struggles is the uneducated people who assume and judge, it’s sad. But my close family members rule!!!!!
•    Anonymous said… What I really want to say is, when my son doesn’t want to go, Cries, gets sick, has anxiety... goes to Nurse, misses class, teachers are not on board ..calls to come get him and it happens all the time. It’s What’s best.. homeschool.
•    Anonymous said… Yes, our son has both. The high functioning ASD proves to be more of a challenge to manage than ADHD. The only advice we have is that both parents doing the same things in terms of management & working together. We find one parent dealing with a problem/meltdown works-not both parents. We take it in turns so we give each other a break. We just take each day as it comes-cos we never know when our son may need extra support. We did buy ear defenders which have worked well for him. Look after yourselves too. And don't beat yourselves up if you get it wrong now & again-this is a constant learning curve & every child is different. Good Luck, but bet you're already doing great xx
•    Anonymous said… Yes. With those same challenges. Private violin lessons , art and Planned one on one with a friend. Also , school counseling, OT, He still has social challenges.

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My child has been rejected by his peers, ridiculed and bullied !!!

Social rejection has devastating effects in many areas of functioning. Because the ASD child tends to internalize how others treat him, rejection damages self-esteem and often causes anxiety and depression. As the child feels worse about himself and becomes more anxious and depressed – he performs worse, socially and intellectually.

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How to Prevent Meltdowns in Children on the Spectrum

Meltdowns are not a pretty sight. They are somewhat like overblown temper tantrums, but unlike tantrums, meltdowns can last anywhere from ten minutes to over an hour. When it starts, the Asperger's or HFA child is totally out-of-control. When it ends, both you and your child are totally exhausted. But... don’t breathe a sigh of relief yet. At the least provocation, for the remainder of that day -- and sometimes into the next - the meltdown can return in full force.

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Parenting Defiant Teens on the Spectrum

Although Aspergers [high-functioning autism] is at the milder end of the autism spectrum, the challenges parents face when disciplining a teenager on the spectrum are more difficult than they would be with an average teen. Complicated by defiant behavior, the teen is at risk for even greater difficulties on multiple levels – unless the parents’ disciplinary techniques are tailored to their child's special needs.

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Older Teens and Young Adult Children with ASD Still Living At Home

Your older teenager or young “adult child” isn’t sure what to do, and he is asking you for money every few days. How do you cut the purse strings and teach him to be independent? Parents of teens with ASD face many problems that other parents do not. Time is running out for teaching their adolescent how to become an independent adult. As one mother put it, "There's so little time, yet so much left to do."

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Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism

Two traits often found in kids with High-Functioning Autism are “mind-blindness” (i.e., the inability to predict the beliefs and intentions of others) and “alexithymia” (i.e., the inability to identify and interpret emotional signals in others). These two traits reduce the youngster’s ability to empathize with peers. As a result, he or she may be perceived by adults and other children as selfish, insensitive and uncaring.

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Highly Effective Research-Based Parenting Strategies for Children with Asperger's and HFA

Become an expert in helping your child cope with his or her “out-of-control” emotions, inability to make and keep friends, stress, anger, thinking errors, and resistance to change.

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My Aspergers Child - Syndicated Content