A teacher comes in contact with many types of students. Teachers are in the classroom with a desire to teach. It is disheartening when a student is asked to do something, and he or she refuses. Teachers cringe when the student looks them straight in the eyes, clench their jaw and say, “No.”
The above is an example of deviant behavior. It is much more prevalent today than it was in the past. According to a study by Anne Gregory, Ph.D, most discipline referrals are due to defiance. She believes that it is important for educators to understand and respond to students who exhibit defiance behavior. Without knowledge of defiance behavior and appropriate dealing of the behavior, instruction is impeded.
Defiance ranges from incidences that can be defused easily to highly disruptive and dangerous incidents. When a child’s defiance is extreme and continuous, he or she is labeled as having oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). The following, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition (DSM-W), are the characteristics of ODD children.
Factors causing ODD have been identified by various educational researchers.
> Chemical imbalance
> Either excessive authoritarian or laissez-faire parenting
> Social factors: racial discrimination and poverty.which cause social stress within the family
> Mother’s prenatal care and nutrition – fetal exposure to alcohol, drugs, lead,
Studies show that students with ODD are at an increased likelihood of problems with substance abuse, juvenile delinquency, or developing a mental disorder and committing violent crimes..
Some researchers, such as Kohl, refer to defiance as “creative maladjustment” that are used to resist adults’ negative labels (troublemaker, slow learner).
No matter how ODD is defined, it is a problem that teachers need to understand and be trained to handle. Research shows that ODD students need structure and consistency with consequences.
The Individuals with Disabilities Act Amendments of 1997 developed a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA). This assessment is a systematic way to determine a purpose (function) for a child’s behavior. This FBA can be used informally by the regular classroom teacher to help decide the best intervention techniques. In other words, what is the reason for the defiant behavior.
The University of Arizona developed a useful FBA instrument to understand the of Behavior use by the regular classroom teacher.
The Function Matrix is two columns with basic underlying functions for the student. The behavior either enables the student to receive or avoid a wanted outcome.
Access (to receive)
Avoid (to not do something).
Under these two columns are three things that a student wants to access or avoid. These categories are: >>Attention (from teachers, parents, peers, or anyone who will pay attention),
>> Sensory (noise or physical contact.
From the matrix, the teacher uses the behavioral analysis (A, B, and C)
A = Antecedent – what happens before the behavior occurs
B = Behavior – what is the exact behavior – verbal refusal, slamming a book down, standing up, etc.
C = Consequence – refers to the consequence of the behavior. Did the student gain access or avoidance of the situation through the behavior?
From this behavioral study a pattern will emerge. From this pattern, the teacher is able to communicate with the student, and plan interventions to stop the behavior.
Oppositional Defiant Disorder is on the rise. It must be caught early in a child’s education in order to alleviate the problems associated with it.