The Co-morbidity of Autism Spectrum Condition and Oppositional Defiant Disorder. So What?

Assignment type: Essay
Author: Joanna Spragg
Submitted: May 2015

There is considerable research attention given to psychiatric comorbidity in children and adolescents with a diagnosis of autism spectrum conditions (ASC). This essay aims to consider one such comorbid diagnosis, that of oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) and question its value as an explanation of the behaviour of children and young people on the autism spectrum. Much of the existing research exploring the comorbidity of ASC and ODD comes from a neuropsychological perspective and is focused on validity and accurate measures. The research supports the diagnostic validity of ODD, however this essay will take a different perspective and consider the usefulness of a comorbid diagnosis of ODD for a child or young person with ASC and those supporting them. This argument will be placed in the context of some of the recognised core cognitive differences that are associated with a diagnosis of ASC, as well as potential wider contributing factors. Potential implications for educational psychologists will be considered throughout.

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