Is There Any Student Left Without a Disorder?

There used to be a stigma attached to those students diagnosed with a disorder. Soon the stigma will be reserved only for those yet to be labeled with one.

It is quite disappointing that it has come down to this. Instead of treating naughty behaviour as naughty behaviour, disrespect as disrespect and anger as …. you guessed it – anger, every socially unacceptable emotion must be aligned with a disorder.

NAUGHTY kids are turning up to school with notes from doctors who have given their unruly behaviour a medical name – oppositional defiant disorder (ODD).

And children who lash out at teachers or students have also been diagnosed with a condition termed intermittent explosive disorder (IED).

Psychologists are diagnosing ODD – characterised by persistent anti-authoritarian behaviour – at a greater rate than autism.

Child psychologist Lisa Good said the condition was real and created a lot of stress for parents, who couldn’t understand why their child was mucking up.

Ms Good, from the Psych Professionals in Brisbane, said she had diagnosed more children with ODD and conduct disorders over the past two years than autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or anxiety.

“It is a lot more common. I would say it was the majority of my appointments this year,” Ms Good said.

Teachers don’t know how to handle the aggressive students and governments do not recognise ODD for special classroom funding.

Queensland Teachers Union president Kevin Bates said schools were having a hard time dealing with the rise in behaviour disorders.

“It has become an extremely significant problem, that’s having severe effects on our schools now,” Mr Bates said.

“The sorts of things people think are just naughty kids now have a medical diagnosis.

“As (doctors) identify more and more disorders, (parents) expect the system will have a special response.”

Mr Bates said unlike with autism, the Government offered no extra help to deal with ODD students, and often they ended up being suspended or excluded.

So let’s take stock: There’s ODD, ADD, ADHD, IED and ASD.

What they really need to establish is OWMEAD – the Obsession with Making Everything a Disorder!

Click here to read my post, Who Needs Quality Teaching or Parenting When You Have Medications?

Click here to read my post, Get Your Kids on Ritalin Before Their Grades Suffer

Click here to read my post, It is Doctors Not Teachers Who Are Helping Children Get Good Grades

Click here to read my post, Doctors Create a New Normal by Over-Prescribing Drugs


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7 Responses to “Is There Any Student Left Without a Disorder?”

  1. Voiceless in America Says:

    It might not appear as a disorder to you since you apparently are tamed. However, to those who have the disorders, it is real. These are invisible disabilities that hurt more than the physical ones at times. It is something I battle everyday–to try to tame my disorder. I don’t want to lash out. I become overwhelmed with anxiety due to environmental factors. To explain it to someone who has no knowledge and who is close-minded is in vain as I’m sure this post is. Yet, I find it disturbing that an educator, if that is what you are, has this point of view. Non-acceptance about these disorders is discrimination against people with disabilities. You see these people as bad when in fact they are just extremely sensitive to certain conditions and are unable to adapt quickly. Perhaps it is the stereotype that these people are “bad” and “naughty behavior” that leads some to commit horrible crimes as they see no way out. The world needs people who are open-minded and understand that the so-called “naughty-behavior” is caused by something “other”–a disorder. As one who suffers from such a disorder that people like you call “naughty-behavior,” I can tell you that my entire life has been about controlling this “naughty-behavior.” It is difficult, however, when I’m judged as bad. I’m not bad. It is you who says so. Was Hitler any different with his intolerance of those who were different than he, those whom he deemed “not-acceptable.” Perhaps, you should begin a movement to kill us all.

    I find your post most disturbing. But, you have the right to reveal your views, as hurtful as they may be to those who try daily to fit in your neat little world.

    • Michael G. Says:

      I am sorry you have had to deal with anxiety and I appreciate your position. My opinion isn’t all that much different from what you espoused. I agree with almost everything you have written (although the bit about Hitler was a bit excessive).

      I never equated naughty to bad. Naughty isn’t bad. It’s natural.

      And herein lies my point. It is for the experts to speculate on what constitutes a disorder, but as an educator I can’t help but be frustrated when I see precious children with issues that I would classify as normal, being labelled as having a disorder. Often they are put on very strong doses of Ritalin or other such medications.

      This is fine if all other explanations for the behavior have been looked at and dismissed. Reasons such as lack of sleep, poor diet, troubled home life, being bullied, low self esteem, learning difficulties etc. Yet, I am seeing an abandonment of such a process in preference for the quick label. A label that you know all too well is difficult to deal with.

      My fear is that the people who have gone to the trouble of eliminating all other possibilities for their condition will be unfairly grouped with those that have been blindly diagnosed with a disorder. This cheapens the disorder and does not give due respect to those that struggle with it.

      ADHD is even according to leading doctors, extremely overprescribed. I have personally seen how doctors have mishandled my students by giving a bewildering diagnosis without considering other possibilities. By taking every anti-social behaviour and associating them with a new disorder name, they are doing 2 things I am deeply afraid of. One, they are branding children without doing enough homework (and often putting them on medication too readily) and two, they are cheapening the struggles that you and others who have clear disorders go through.

      I am sorry if I have caused you offense and I appreciate both your feedback and the opportunity you have given me to clarify my position. If there is anything unclear or offensive in what I am writing, please pull me up on it (perhaps without a Hitler reference).

      • Voiceless in America Says:

        Thank you for clarifying. I do agree with you on finding alternatives to medication. Children 18 and under should not take medication as their corpus callosum is still developing–a very important process that occurs in the brain. Parents are not told. I was blessed with parents who suffered through my “naughtiness,” rejecting medication. I found other ways to help my anxiety. I have an anxiety disorder. I never wanted a label. However, it is a necessary evil within our society to protect us from those who do not understand we are not “naughty” on purpose. I was given a chance to understand my disorder in a natural way, allowing me to find methods other than medication to help me. Although later on in my life, I admit I was so low in self-esteem that some medication was necessary. Over-medication only sedates and eventually kills the individual–a slow death under the auspices of humane interference. Anyway, once again, your clarification was appreciated. And, I will take you up on your offer to “pull you up on” any “possible offensive” writing, but I ask you do the same for mine. Best…

  2. randomyriad Says:

    if you believe in children being naughty for naughty’s sake you need to go back to school. I believe children act out when they are bored and when the classroom structure does not fit with their learning style. I believe in having consequences for behaviors that will not be an asset to the child in his or her future life. But if you believe that the only way to reach kids is through the magic of some one-approach-suits all problems way of dealing with children then you are doing a grave disservice to those of your students who truly have challenges and maybe just a different way of approaching learning. In my experience “naughty” children most likely need more assistance to fit into a system that does not suit them, more parent-teacher communication, and some empathy. You can start by not labeling them naughty. Label the behavior not the child and you will be closer to solving some problems.

  3. Voiceless in America Says:


  4. John Tapscott Says:

    Randomyriad has a point. Label the behaviour, not the child. I would add that we need better help from the medical profession in that a lot of these diagnosable conditions have a non medical origin. Oppositional defiant “disorder” has it’s origin the first time a child defies its parent or teacher and gets away with it. The behaviour is reinforced by the lack of an effective consequence. Attention Deficit Disorder affects significantly more boys than girls. This should provide us with a clue. We know that boys have a different learning style from girls. Boys tend to be more active and girls more passive. I saw a quote posted in a school staff room which stated, “If the child doesn’t learn the way you teach, teach the way he learns.” There is a lot of wisdom in this.

    While working as a behaviour specialist I had to sit in an interview with a principal and the mother of a boy in kindergarten and another boy a year younger. As the interview proceeded the two boys began dismantling the principal’s office bit by bit. The mother kept threatening consequences that didn’t happen and the boys’ behaviour became progressively worse. The palm of my hand was becoming increasingly itchy. Finally the principal excused himself on the pretext of business elsewhere leaving me to deal with the mess. As medical help had been discussed, I set up an appointment with a local doctor with ADD experience and promptly brought the interview to a close. The next day the doctor rang to thank me for the referral, telling me how the two boys had completely demolished his surgery. The parents of these children had allowed a pattern to develop where the children knew there were no consequences for such attention seeking behaviour. I was unable to do any more because my time in that school district was over and I was moving on. However, I couldn’t help thinking that a little of the old fashioned approach would have gone a long way in this case.

    Another factor these days is the preponderance of female teachers in primary schools, also beginning to affect secondary schools. Boys need male role models and they are disappearing rapidly from our schools. In NSW 2 out of 3 newly promoted teachers are female, 3 out of 4 newly appointed teachers are female. Don’t take my word for it. Read the June 2012 issue of the publication “Side by Side // Education Gazette” and do the maths yourself. This trend began in the mid 1970’s with affirmative action being taken in favour of female teachers in the matter of promotion. What was not clearly understood at the time was that affirmative action in one direction is negative action in the opposite direction as male staff were being actively discriminated against in the matter of promotion. There were reasons why there were more males in promotions positions that had nothing to do with sexism or discrimination but more to do with nature. What can be said now is that sexism is alive and well in the NSW DEC and being expressed against males. We have the published figures to prove it.

  5. Voiceless in America Says:

    I agree with most of your comments. Focusing on how the behavior is re-enforced–absolutely! This behavior is re-enforced to the point that the child becomes dysfunctional in society as illustrated by the two examples above. Were the children “naughty.” One my opt to say “yes.” Some may say the parents were. Others may argue it was the parents’ parents. And so we may continue with the who did what and who was the “naugthy” one to infinity. What came first? The chicken or the egg? Similar concept. The point is that the re-enforcement becomes a disorder–with a difference in degrees. We must get to the root of the problem, yet that is like trying to discover what came first–chicken or egg? What is not correct is to over-medicate to sedate as it is a quick fix. Other alternatives are available (meditation, yoga, massage, art, and so forth–what I do.) No easy way out. Discrimination defines us as a race, it seems.

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