12.06.2007

Alphabet Soup

Kate's official diagnoses include ASD/PDD-NOS, SPD, and anxiety with a strong OCD component. One of Kate's therapists would like to add a new flavor to the mix: ODD. It is true that Kate is stubborn, a personality trait that runs strong on both sides of the family tree. It is true that she is emotionally reactive, which can be attributed to her struggles with the modulation of sensory input. It is true that she is argumentative, but isn't that related to the poor social skills of children on the spectrum? It is true that she is negative and often complains. Again, a personality trait. Not everybody is a glass-is-half-full kind of person. It is true that Kate tests her limits, but what child doesn't?


Kate receives a variety of services and therapies that address her needs. Occupational therapy for fine motor issues and challenges related to sensory processing. Speech therapy to strengthen pragmatic language skills. Verbal behavior taught Kate how to "use her words". A social skills group to help her interact with her peers. Behavioral health rehabilitative services to teach play skills, flexibility, coping skills. RDI to help Kate become competent in dynamic systems.

So, my question is this- What is the purpose of saddling Kate with this ODD label? Should this label be stamped on her, it might very well change how people look at her. The acronym itself is stigmatizing. Who wants their child labeled "odd"? Also, I am afraid that kids labeled with ODD are perceived as "bad kids". Kate has some challenging behaviors at times, but she is not a "bad kid".

There is no reason to slap this label on Kate. It will not change her needs nor will it change the services she receives. More importantly, it will not change how we are raising her. It will not change how we love her.

11 comments:

Maddy said...

From your link on ODD they don't appear to have any particular behavioural therapies or interventions to help.
BEst wishes

This is my calling card or link"Whittereronautism"until blogger comments get themselves sorted out.

kristen said...

I agree. The label won't change anything. I have a hard time with the labels, they give people something to hang on to, something to make sense of what often doesn't make sense. But for our kids, for any kid, really, the label does not define who they are or what they are capable of.

Very often we need the labels to get the services. But the services are the same, regardless of what we call it.

Trust your instincts. If you think the label is pointless, then resist it. It's not like you are denying her services, or holding back in any way. Just keep doing what you are doing. Kate is so lucky to have you and to have you looking out for her in such a thoughtful and caring way.

Hang in there. Sending a hug.

Lori at Spinning Yellow said...

You already know how that I think the ODD label in general is some kind of cop-out. Like, "well your kid is a problem, and we just can't get them to do what we think they should so that means they are defiant", hence ODD.

It is insulting and unproductive and in Kate's case, IMO, not even close to relevant.

Delilah said...

Maddy- From the reading I have done so far, I have not found anything either.

Kristen- Thanks for your kind words.

Lori- I don't think the label is relevant either. True that we do see some of the signs sometimes, but it is not pervasive enough to justify a "diagnosis"

tulipmom said...

I culdn't agree more with your feelings on this label.

At our last IEP meeting, the guidance counselor brought up ODD with regard to my son. Interesting since of all the people on the team, he's spent the least amount of time with my son. Yes, he can be stubborn (very) but it's all tied to the sensory issues and the anxiety from the Asperger's.

Delilah said...

Tulipmom- I couldn't agree with you more. The behavior is directly related to the sensory, the anxiety, the ASD, not ODD. The biggest thing I see with Kate that makes me believe it is not ODD is that she shows remorse. She is not an angry child looking to make my life miserable or to get revenge. She is an emotionally reactive child who has difficulty regulating herself. When she loses it, she's frustrated. Once she calms down, she feels bad about what happened and says she's sorry. I don't think we would see that if it was ODD.

tulipmom said...

No, you absolutely would NOT ... excellent point.

kyra said...

i agree. you know, someone could easily slap that on fluffy, given the resistance he has offered up in the past in so many situations. i think any of us, feeling pushed to the wall, would snap back with defiance. maybe it's appropriate? given how it feels inside?

i'd say, go with your gut. if the 'diagnosis' doesn't ring a bell, dismiss it. how does it help? sounds like you are already doing amazing things to provide support and encourage growth and connection.

Marla said...

This is my first time on your blog so I have not read that much history on your daughter. Our daughter was given so many diagnosises it was terrifying. We finally picked autism and refused any further labels. Except she had recently been genetically tested and also has a Chromosome disorder which is an obvious set in stone diagnosis. I don't know why so many professionals want so many labels. Our daughter used to be very very aggressive and abusive to herself and others. Once we figured ways for her to communciate and her medications were working she became much less aggressive. It takes time and lots of tweaking. Hang in there! Check out my blog and my daughter's blog. Her's is www.maiziebaltes.blogspot.com
She used to have this diagnosis. PTSD, ODD, OCD, BP, Autism, GAD, Seizure Disorder, Mental Retardation, SPD, Attatchement Disorder...just to name a few.

slouching mom said...

i'm with you. reject that diagnosis. she's too young for it, anyway, IMO.

Delilah said...

Thanks everyone, for your comments. This ongoing dialogue has really helped me process everything.

Kyra and SM- I have dismissed and rejected the possibility of the label.

Marla- Thanks for stopping by and for your words of support. I will be checking out your blog. I am eager to meet other parents of daughters on the spectrum!