Attention Deficit and Disruptive Behavioral Disorders

ADHD is covered in Chapter 8. Kids are diagnosed with ADHD when they have serious persistent problems with attention, im-pulsivity, or hyperactivity. Children below age seven who are formally diagnosed with ADHD are usually described by their par ents as having shown many of the following symptoms during toddler and preschool years: low frustration tolerance, frequent temper outbursts, bossiness, stubbornness, excessive and persistent insistence that their demands be met, serious mood swings, and extreme sensitivity to rejection from playmates.

The other major disruptive behavioral disorder seen in this category is Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). Children with this disorder are often described as being constantly and continuously negativistic, defiant, disobedient, and hostile toward their parents. These kids argue constantly, resist parents' authority, and defy or refuse to comply with their parents' wishes while deliberately doing things they know will annoy them. They are often angry, blaming, vindictive, and spiteful in a way that significantly interferes with the normal functioning of the family. Their stubbornness and resistance to directions, unwillingness to compromise, and deliberate continual testing of limits often leaves their parents extremely annoyed and exhausted. As the ODD child nears the end of the preschool age, it is apparent that the child's behaviors are consistently bringing out the worst in both the parent and child. ODD often occurs along with the diagnosis of ADHD, bipolar disorder, or Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) and is frequently seen in kids whose parents rule with harshness, inconsistency, or severe punishments, or where the child's care has been disrupted by a series of caregivers (as seen in foster care and some adoption placements).

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