Other considerations for Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)


Students with ODD might engage in risky behaviours more often than others. Some may refuse to follow expectations and instructions. This can put themselves or others in danger. 

Remind students of the expectations to keep them safe. Use positive language and a neutral tone when giving instructions. Tell students what to do instead of what not to do.


Some students might also show behaviours of concern towards other students. It’s important to remember students are most likely trying to communicate a need or want that is not being met. Identifying the function of behaviour is key to understanding what the student is trying to communicate. 

Strategies under 'build their skillset' might help, such as building social skills and emotional regulation.

Try to 'help students build positive environments', and 'create a warm and nurturing environment'. Refer to the behaviour page for more information on how to reduce behaviours of concern by supporting the student and promoting more helpful behaviour. 

Access our emotions page for more information about supporting a student with managing their emotions.


Students with ODD might find homework challenging. An effective homework routine may be helpful for them. As assignments get bigger, students with ODD may need to be taught how to plan and organise their time and work. 

Some students may refuse to complete work if they are feeling forced. Allowing them to feel in control of their own work through providing choices may help.

Language delays

Some students with ODD might have language delays. Some students with ODD may have limited vocabulary, and not know words to describe how they are feeling.

Visit our section on specific learning difficulties for specific strategies.


For more information about supporting students with disability when transitioning across education settings, access our transition page.

Post-school transition to adult life should begin as early as possible in school. 

Consider strategies that increase independence, such as working on their organisational, social and problem-solving skills, and time- and self- management skills. Plenty of opportunities to practise them in all areas of the student’s life may also be helpful. 

It may be helpful to identify skill gaps and develop a support plan to help them be successful (for example, social skills, academic and/or employment skills).


The School Sport Unit provides inclusive sport and physical activity opportunities and pathways for students with disability across NSW. These focus on ability, participation, enjoyment and skill development. Opportunities include gala days, Multi-Sport days, knockouts and Come-and-Try Athletics days, and are available for students with disability who learn in mainstream classrooms, support classes in mainstream schools and Schools for Specific Purposes.

Inclusive school sport programs have the potential to support a student with disability’s social, emotional, mental and physical health. Watch Lexie and Anna’s stories of what sport and physical activity, both at school and in their journey through the representative school sport pathway, has meant to them. 


First aid

Some students may engage in behaviours of concern when teachers or other staff are applying first aid.

Use a neutral tone, and explain clearly and simply what you are going to do, such as when applying a band aid.

Safety drills

Some students may engage in disruptive behaviour during emergency drills. Clear and simple instructions on the procedure may help.

Casual teachers

Some students may engage in behaviours of concern with new teachers or SLSOs. Having a clear schedule may help avoid behaviours of concern.

When possible, let students know when casual staff are coming. Stick to routines as much as possible. Talk to casual teachers about the strategies you use, so they can continue using them.


Some students with ODD may have trouble getting along with their peers. They might find it hard to make friends, and they may be left out.

Help students build social skills.

Excursions or camps

Excursions and camps may be challenging for students with ODD, as there are likely to be new distractions and a change in routine.

Consider safety when planning an excursion if a student struggles to follow instructions or is likely to be impulsive.


Students with ODD may develop feelings of sadness, anger or irritability. They can also experience negative self talk and low self esteem. This can impact their schoolwork and relationships. Watch for changes in behaviour and consider referring a student to the school’s wellbeing staff or learning and support team if indicated.

A relevant tip is help students to manage their emotions and you can learn more about this on our emotions page.

Other co-occuring conditions

Students with oppositional defiant disorder may also experience Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), anxiety, or specific learning disability.

Refer to understanding disability page or common needs page to help support the student.