Boarding Schools for Students With Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Oppositional Defiant Disorder is often formally diagnosed around age eight, although the child may have shown symptoms before that time. Children with this disorder have a consistent pattern of being hostile, negative, defiant of authority, disobedient, spiteful, and vindictive. They argue with adults and show little respect for rules or structure. They are often angry and throw temper tantrums. They can be moody or touchy and blame others for their mistakes.

While every child "acts up" from time to time, children with oppositional defiant disorder are very hard to handle because their behavior is consistently defiant, usually both at home and school. The disorder probably has a biological basis, and often accompanies other problems such as Attention Deficit Disorder, Conduct Disorder, anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder. The children nearly always have problems making friends and complying with demands of homework and family chores.

About 5% of preschoolers have Oppositional Defiant Disorder. By age 18, half will no longer have psychiatric problems. With some children in the other half, the disorder "turns into" Attention Deficit Disorder or Conduct Disorder in later childhood. Others continue with Oppositional Defiant Disorder into adulthood.

Professional interventions are medications, parent training, therapy, and behavioral modification. Sometimes when the comorbid conditions like Attention Deficit Disorder or depression are treated, the child's Oppositional Defiant Disorder improves.

Doctors and psychologists are always advising parents to be firm, loving and consistent, to provide a structured environment and various therapies. Sometimes it is very difficult for parents to keep up these strict regimens. A boarding school can provide structure, regular exercise and behavioral therapy to help children with Oppositional Defiant Disorders.

Without boarding school placement, some children with Oppositional Defiant Disorder end up in special education classes that do not meet their needs or even placements within a juvenile court system.

Boarding schools often provide superior academics and plenty of individual attention. Students often succeed academically for the first time, and develop interests in areas like art, music, horseback riding, and other fields.

Unless the therapists from the boarding school involve parents in learning the necessary skills to handle their child, the child will go back to the old behaviors when he comes home.

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