Ken Shyminsky, a former vice president of the Greater Toronto Chapter of the Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada, draws upon his personal experiences as a teacher and student with Tourette Syndrome to help children with TS and related disorders. He also has Tourette himself and is the founder of the website Neurologically Gifted.
What we have learned from Oppositional Defiant Disorder
- Oppositional Defiant Disorder responses are deeply entrenched by repetition. To circumvent this roadblock, try going around or get off and take another route! This is one of the general rules in our home. We know that attempting to crash right through Nathan’s “NO”/Stop sign will cause injuries. And, who wants to flatten their child?
- Ignore the “No!” The automatic “NO!” is exactly that – automatic. It really doesn’t mean anything. If we wait it out, the automatic “NO!” may subside, then disappear.
- Give your child time between their automatic “NO! and your reaction to it. Nathan often responds with “NO!” and then physically follows through with a “Sure, OK!” The pause before my reaction was the key to that realization. Over time, the delay between his automatic “No” and “Sure, OK” became shorter. Now he often says “No” while he complies with our requests. It can be funny at times.
- Pick your battles. Listen to your child and respect their choices. Sometimes, “NO!” is really a “NO!” (like the chocolate cake), and not just ODD, (like the “NO!” birthday cake stop sign). Don’t make a “NO!” into a “You’ll do it because I said so!”
- Teach your child about their Oppositional Defiant Disorder and what your observations are. Self insight will help your child immensely to take power over their automatic ODD responses. We talk about it all the time and encourage Nathan to fight back against his ODD tendencies.
We don’t really know when Nathan’s birthday cake stop sign got placed or cemented there but we all know it is there, sowe work around it. This year Nate had a slice of pie. I made cupcakes and we had two kinds of pie. He picked lemon meringue. Candles and everything!