Alternative Therapeutic School for Children with ODD Defiance

Therapeutic School for Children with Oppositional Defiance

Oppositional Defiance

Pinnacle programs are designed to address Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) in students. A teen diagnosed with ODD has exhibited behavior that has led to significant problems in school and social activities.

If a student diagnosed with ODD makes little or no improvement after a period of time at the therapeutic day school in Huntsville, we provide a higher level of residential care at the Elk River Treatment Program (ERTP) where outside influences are removed and a more intense treatment plan can be developed and implemented.

ODD is a pattern of disobedient, hostile, and defiant behavior toward authority figures. This disorder is more common in boys than in girls. Some studies have shown that it affects 20% of school-age children. This behavior typically starts by age 8, but it may start as early as the preschool years. This disorder is thought to be caused by a combination of biological, psychological, and social factors.

Symptoms include:

  • Does not follow adults' requests
  • Argues with adults
  • Angry and resentful of others
  • Consistently blames others for own mistakes
  • Has few or no friends or has lost friends
  • Is in constant trouble in school
  • Loses temper
  • Is spiteful
  • Seeks revenge
  • Easily annoyed

To fit this diagnosis, the pattern must last for at least 6 months and must be more than normal childhood misbehavior. The pattern of behaviors must be different from those of other children around the same age and developmental level.

Upon admission at ERTP, children are evaluated by an adolescent psychiatrist and an individualized treatment plan is developed to meet the needs of the child. Family members must also participate in therapy while their child is in treatment at ERTP. Weekly family therapy sessions are held with the child's primary therapist and at least one family workshop must be attended while the child is in treatment. Caregivers learn to be consistent about rules and consequences, set clear boundaries and model the right behaviors for the child.

After successfully completing the therapeutic program at Elk River, students often return to Pinnacle Private Academy to finish the semester or graduate from high school. They may also choose to transfer to their public school.