Attention Deficit and Disruptive Behavior Disorders
(as defined by the American Academy of Pediatrics)
A child with ADHD and a coexisting disruptive behavior disorder is likely to be similar to children with ADHD alone in terms of intelligence, medical history, and neurological development. Disruptive behavior disorders are among the easiest to identify of all coexisting conditions because they involve behaviors that are readily seen such as temper tantrums, physical aggression such as attacking other children, excessive argumentativeness, stealing, and other forms of defiance or resistance to authority. He is probably no more impulsive than children with ADHD alone, although if he has conduct disorder, his teachers or other adults may misinterpret his aggressive behavior as ADHD-type impulsiveness.
A child with ADHD and CD does have a greater chance of experiencing learning disabilities such as reading disorders and verbal impairment. But what distinguishes children with ODD and CD most from children with ADHD alone is their defiant, resistant, even (in the case of CD) aggressive, cruel, or delinquent, behavior. Other indicators to look for include
- Relatives with ADHD/ODD, ADHD/CD, depressive disorder or anxiety disorder.
- Stress or conflict in the family.
- Poor or no positive response to the behavior therapy techniques at home and at school.
Children with ADHD and disruptive behavior disorders often benefit from special behavioral techniques that can be implemented at home and at school. These approaches typically include methods for training your child to become more aware of his own anger cues, use these cues as signals to initiate various coping strategies and provide himself with positive reinforcement for successful self-control. You and your child’s teachers, meanwhile, can learn to better manage ODD or CD-type behavior through
- problem-solving with your child
- anticipating and avoiding potentially explosive situations
- prioritizing goals so that less important problems are ignored
These highly specific techniques can be taught by professional behavior therapists or other mental health professionals recommended by your child’s pediatrician or school psychologist, or other professionals involved with your family.
For more on this topic, please visit: Disruptive Behavior Disorders