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Behavior Disorders

Most behavioral disorders are recognized by parents and educators. These disorders are usually labeled as being "disruptive". The following list covers some behavioral disorders and a general explanation of the behavior disorder.



If you believe that your child or a student may have one of these behavior disorders please get your child to a health care professional. Not only are most behavioral disorders hard for parents and educators to deal with but the child is also suffering and sometimes this suffering is needless if the child gets the proper help and coping tools. Parents also benefit from training and help when a child is going through these issues.

ADHD/ADD Child can seem very anxious, restless, hyper or in general "distracted".

Things to look for:

  • Impulsive (may be accident prone)

  • Has difficulty paying attention (assignments go unfinished or forgotten)

  • Makes careless mistakes (has trouble focusing)

  • Hurries responses (won't let you finish a question)

  • Disorganized (loses things readily)

  • Forgetful (about homework, appointments, etc.)

  • Easily distracted (lack of focus)

  • Fragmented conversation (switches topics in conversation, doesn't track well)

  • Squirmy (even when punished, cannot hold still)

  • Physically moving when inappropriate (climbing, running)

  • Always moving ("always on the go", in older children and adults it can be a feeling of restlessness)

  • Impatient

  • Chatty in situations that are not appropriate to initiate conversation

Conduct Disorder - These are anti-social behaviors that infringe on the rights of peers and violate the standard rules of age appropriate behaviors. These children often skip school, have theft problems, or get physically aggressive with peers or authority figures. This disorder can be hard to diagnose as a child may only have one of the above mentioned symptoms. While neurological studies find problems in the frontal lobe of these patients it is also believed that the child's environment plays a key role in the development of this behavior disorder. Early diagnosis and treatment are the key to helping children with this behavior disorder.

Things to look for (this is not comprehensive, there are many signs of conduct disorder):

  • bullying

  • aggressive behaviors

  • theft

  • truancy

  • lying

  • vandalism

  • violation of rules

  • sexual activity at an early age

Oppositional Defiant Disorder -

The University of Virginia Health Systems states that "Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is a behavior disorder, usually diagnosed in childhood, that is characterized by uncooperative, defiant, negativistic, irritable, and annoying behaviors toward parents, peers, teachers, and other authority figures. Children and adolescents with ODD are more distressing or troubling to others than they are distressed or troubled themselves."

There are many arguments about what causes Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Some believe that it starts when a child is a toddler (trouble with autonomous skills) and other believe that children learn these behaviors from their environment (learned through negative reinforcement).

It is believed that 20% of children have Oppositional Defiant Disorder and it is the leading cause for children being referred to mental health professionals. This is found in school aged children.

Things to look for:

  • Temper tantrums

  • Blaming others for their own behaviors

  • Deliberately misbehaving, openly defiant

  • Easily annoyed

  • Tries to upset or annoy people

  • Questions authority and/or rules

The bulk of this information has been summarized from the University of Virginia Health Systems.

Related Article: Childhood Depression Warning Signs >>


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