Getting Help for a Child with a Behavior Disorder

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My son is in the 10th grade. He has a behavior disorder and he can’t control himself at times. The school does not understand when he gets agitated and angry. They just suspend him and deprive him of his education.

You say your son has a behavior disorder. Many kids with learning disabilities develop behavior problems. If the school doesn’t teach them the skills they need, they become angry, frustrated, and depressed. Then the school labels them as “behavior disordered” or “emotionally disturbed.”

  • Is he under the care of a mental health professional?

If not, he needs this right away.

By suspending him repeatedly, the school is putting him at high risk for dropping out.

  • Does he have an IEP?

If yes, what services is the school supposed to provide? Are they providing these services?

  • If he doesn’t have an IEP, you should get an evaluation by an independent evaluator.

The evaluator will determine what his needs are and what type of educational program he needs. The evaluator can help advocate for him with the school. A mental health person can also help you learn how to advocate for him.

At this point, you have educators who have little or no training in mental health and behavioral problems dealing with him, mainly by suspending him (which isn’t a punishment for many kids).

  • Is he under the care of a child psychiatrist?

If not, that’s your first step. You also need to get a comprehensive evaluation to find out what is going on with him, why he can’t control himself, and how to help him get himself under control. The child psychiatrist should be able to recommend a good child or neuro-psychologist.

Bottom line: You can’t tackle these problems successfully unless or until you have good diagnostic testing and data.

You’ll find more information and resources on Behavior Problems and Discipline at

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230 Comments on "Getting Help for a Child with a Behavior Disorder"

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What can i do if my 12th grade son with ADHD Asberger auditory processing disorder, anxiety continues to get detentions, suspensions. I am asking for a meeting almost every month to get proper help for him and the principal can only give him detentions leading to suspensions. This has been happening all his middle school and high school life.

It appears that his needs are not being appropriately addressed. You can request an IEP meeting to address this, &/or use the dispute resolution processes. Your state parent training & information center can assist you.

Thanks for your tip to make sure that your child is seeing a mental health expert if they are having behavioral issues. I like how you said that an IEP can also help you to know what resources he/she needs to get better. My husband and I are considering getting our son a behavior problem therapist.

Hello i need advice.
My son is a 6yr old kindergarten and this school year has been having issues going to school.He was diagnosed with adjustment disorder but has started getting back on track doing well going to school and is happy and now the school wants to send him to another school for behavior children. I do not agree for him to be sent to this other campus but they are saying we have no choice.Is this right?
What can i do ? Im worry that this change of school again will affect my son again.

What if the school took way too long to start testing and assessments. The behavior has been reinforced over and over with suspensions? The behavior is even more difficult because the school did not evaluate for over a year on what was going on even though the child had multiple suspensions. Is there any recourse as a parent of suing the school for this?

That would depend on your state law regarding suing a school. You could try using the state dispute resolution processes to get compensatory services. You could contact the state parent training and information center,

My son is going on 17. He is High Spectrum with ADHD features. He was being bullied and attacked and when he fought back he’d be suspended. Now they kicked him out of school and I can’t get him to do the home school program on his Chrome Book through the school. I’m afraid for him. He’s failing 10th grade. He’s addicted to the internet and has been in violent altercations numerous times in the last year. He has threatened me as well. His mother bailed on us in September (we had joint custody). She left without telling him and that made things worse. I am in the State of Florida. What can I do?

He refuses to see the psychiatrist anymore and he will not take his medications.

Your state mental health agency may be able to assist you, if you have not already connected with them. The state parent training & information may be able to help you in working with the school district.

I have a little girl that need some help. she is ADHD bipolar schizophrenic just out of control. said thing that she soundnt say. hits her siblings, calls me names. say she wish I would die she hates me that she wish we all would die in our sleep. this is to much. I need help.

If you have not done so, you should connect with your local mental health agency. Your state parent training & information center should know of some resources that could assist you.

Hi my name is Rhonda i have a 12 year old son that has been diagnosed with ADHD. hes way out of control. im a single parent and i cant deal with him and the way he is. He does not listen to nothing i say to him. he gets mad and angry when i tell him no or he cant get his way. he throws things and he also hits me. i cant handle his behavior nomore. he takes medicine and he sees a doctor for his illness but none of it works. hes always getting in trouble at school getting suspended or iss. I need help with what can be done before im laying in hospital from a major heart attack or nervous breakdown. im begging somebody to help me for his sake too. i dont want him in prison or dead somewhere. theres got to be something to help him or put him somewhere so he can get fully evaluated so he can get the help.

The link to your state center is

Your state parent training & information center will be familiar with agencies in your state that may be able to help you.

my daughter has talked of suicide and has self harmed and is very angry and aggressive, hit, kicks and shoves me and her friends. supposedly my daughter does not do this at moms and mom has denied getting her help for 3 years now. a counselor said she does this behavior only with me because she feels safe with me. child admitted behavior to CPS and counselor and said she doesn’t do this at moms house because she is scared of her moms anger and disappointment. I have finally found a counselor to take her to on weekends but i wonder if this will help since she always wants to stay with me and not go to moms but mom has her all week. any advice would be appreciated, please no custody advice,

I have an 8 year old that is been diagnosed with ADHD odd a mood disorder post-traumatic stress disorder and mentally 3 he has a really really bad temper he’s been very aggressive with his twin twin brother and sister and a little out of control destructive doesn’t realize what he’s doing or doesn’t care what he does he he seems like he don’t have remorse for what he does we can tell him to do something and he can just look at me like I’m going to any advice to get him help he’s been in two hospitals they have not worked he sees a psychiatrist and a therapist and on meds and they are not working he’s getting fights in at school and saying that it ain’t his fault but he has a really bad staring problem any advice please help struggling Mom thank you

Hi Mary I am still learning the laws and everything but I felt I should take a shot at this.
You son needs to have a functional behavioral assessment (FBA) performed on him. Once that is done than you can start to look at a Behavioral Support Plan (BIP). This plan needs to include how to redirect your son and what to do before he gets to that destructive point. I would also consider asking the school to put him on an IEP that will also help his unique learning needs.

I have a 7 year old son. He was diagnosed with ADHD when he was 5 he has tried a few diff medications. But he has really bad anger issues. If you tell him no or he has his mind set that he wants something he will throw a tantrum and yell scream throw and try to destroy things. I’ve tried many different ways to figure out what sets him off etc. he gets sent home from school, he recently got suspended for a day due to pushing desks and throwing stuff on ground and kicking walls. I made an appointment with a new doctor and I’m hoping to get help. But I can’t keep leaving work to get him from school with this behavior and I can’t afford for him to get kicked out if that were to happen!


the school should have done a Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA). The assessment should give some answers as to what is going on with your son. Once that is done a Behavioral Intervention plan (BIP) should be put into place. This plan will list the triggered that cause your son to meltdown and what can be done to help him. I suggest calling your school or better yet writing a letter describing your concerns and requesting a FBA.

My family new to Georgia and they have already RED Flagged his emotional and behavioral disorder. Teachers call it negative behavior and it’s a distraction to her how he has had 26 incidents. He has ran out of medications and has been denied for Georgia service’s. We have informed Gwinnett county school that he needs medications in order to attend school. Yet today 10/5 I was told that he must come to school cause of the laws in ga. Yet they will continue to REDFlagged his school records which will follow him and create a hard life!

Can you get your doctor to state that he cannot attend school until his medication is stable. Perhaps your child would qualify for hospital/home bound services. You do not need to be in special education to receive these services. Alternatively, have you requested your child be evaluated for Special Education services due to his emotional/ behavioral disorder? If he did not qualify, indicate you do not agree and request an IEE.

I have a boy who has anger issues and talked about killing himself.we had to send him to a behavior also school. He been there 11 days and after talking with him several times he seems to be doing good and wants to come home. I think he had been their long enough. Do they have the right to keep him if I insist on picking him up and going home?

Ask the school about support group for parents or resources for parents to engage in self care. This may answer some of your questions. Another piece to this pertains to the “right fit.” Is this place the “right fit” for your child? Work with the school staff to give it a chance so your son may learn some techniques to manage anger, feelings, triggers, etc. 11 days is not enough time to determine outcomes and set up new goals. If he wants to come home to to just “come home”, he should stay. If the school is NOT helping him and he is just grouped with a bunch of kids just to have a placement–then it may not be a good “fit” or even safe for him. Think about the bigger picture and long range goals and talk to people. Such schools are therapeutic but not to punish or teach a lesson.

Hi i have a 4yr old boy who has epilepcy he has been on medication since he turn 3yrs old his behavior is really bad he has anger probloms he gets aggressive in points n he has a temper problom he also jumps around non stop and dont seem to lisen or doesent want to stop wen i tell him to..i been to a mental place for evaluation and they say his ok i when to a place called regional center and they say he has no autisum so i dont know what to do his like thus everyday ge just starded school pre-k 4days ago but he dont do that there til now….what do i do?

You may request the doctor does a medication review. I worked with a child whose severe behaviors were due to negative side effects of epilepsy medications.They changed the medication and he was much better. That is where I would start.

My son is 13 and he gets to highly angry very quickly. He brakes things, lies about me and doesn’t listen, what have been said.I make him healthy food, he doesn’t eat all it. Get angry when he plays games, if he doesn’t win.

If you have not done so, you can contact your state mental health agency.

I have a 12 year old that I adopted last year he has been with me for 3 years now he is in special ed has an IEP goes to counseling and OT and steals and lies on a daily basis and pees and poops his pants when he is mad at me because he knows how much it bothers me he has even told me that he does it to make me mad I am at my wits end with him and need help because I honestly don’t know if I can love him through it anymore

Your state mental health agency is a key place to contact.

I have a 10 yr old boy that does not lesson ,talks back ,and it`s never his fault even when he gets caught on video ! He has ADHD and AUTISM ! I only have INS because I had to quit my job because no one would take care of him now I live day by day ! can any one tell me ware I can get HELP ?

from my understanding if your child is so severe that you cant work because you have to care for him, you can get social security for support. check into it.

Have the same problem but i do work first shift father watches him while i work then he goes to work then i watch him its a challenge every day need help

If you have not done so, check with your state parent training & information center.

My daughter is 16 and has a diagnosis of Bipolar disorder and severe ADHD. This is her first year since fist grade that she is in a public school setting. She has had multiple incidences (5) for “cell phone violation to misconduct” at the public school and has been suspended several times. We have now been called to have an Emergency IEP meeting before the end of the school year to talk about placement for next school year. We do not want her to go back to an alternative setting. She needs to learn and adapt to “real life” situations. I think administration forgets that this is her first year and she has a disability, so there will bumps. At alternative schools you do not get the education or exposure she needs to succeed. Who can give me guidance on how to handle this upcoming meeting?

Your state parent training & information project will be able to assist you in regards to federal & state rules.

I tried that website with no response under any parameters I entered.. I tried different counties, different payment methods and different age ranges.

That’s my point no one helps they pass the by k when on Medicaid’s. I have tried 2 hospitals said he wasn’t that bad. Yes he is or I would not be calling. Doctors are like call here call there. And the one I got to see he bluffed his way right through it like a robot. Now what

Trying to get help for my little girl. She is going out of control. She is diagnosed with dmdd and odd. She is being violent towards her brothers and I. She is being sent home from school because she does not want to follow directions at school. (This is high school)
When she does not get her way she starts being violent towards everybody.
I had taken her and put her in the hospital. (Behaviorial hospital). They kept her there for 10 days. I told they she thinks it is a game. Took her to a hospital to get reevaluated. The discharged her and sent her home. I do have a cos case opened because I left a mark on her. But the cos case manager does really nothing to help me. Just tells me to take her back to the hospital to get reevaluated.
I am on my last leg to get help for her.

I am going threw the same thing in fact we just put my step daughter in a long term facility. she has been there for 3 months. it seems to be working a little. maybe try there the place she is in is in Mandeville la.

This is Iowa correct the one you are speaking about I have a step son 17 been in behavioral facility 4 times. Violent towards everyone mostly little kids. He is a bully and taunts them. Does nothing wrong nothings his fault. He has odd and severe mood disorder which Dr said when he is 18 she will change to bipolar. Severe depression. Need somewhere that will help NOW! we are trying Lincoln’s challenge but looking at options.

i believe we tried to get help for our son thirty years ago. I’m afraid everyone dropped the ball due to not knowing what to do with his issues. Now he has an inability to stand on his own in the adult world. I think he had a medical issue that was not diagnosed. He needs neurological testing. I’m not sure how I get that for him since he is now an adult.i think he is also aware that he had problems and wonders why he didn’t get the help he needed

I’m not sure what his “issues”,behavoirs,symptoms are,but there are different options inwhich I think could benefit him.There’s often places/mental healthcare that offer services for free and sliding scale(goes by what’s affordable by ur income).they can do a mental health assessment to help determine what can be done to help,treatments,additional information,resources and options for him.The first step is always recognizing the problem.Also I know that most cities have an “indigent” care program that provides some healthcare to people who can’t afford insurance/dont have any.
Don’t feel guilty or that you have failed him.You said you tried to get him help.He will love you regardless.The important thing is you are trying now!Society has had many advancements in the past thirty years also.

We recently moved to Brooklyn New York. I have three children and each have their own diagnoses. My 15 year old son is currently attending a school designed for Autistic children. My son is non-verbal with multiple delays. He has recently been coming home from school with multiple marks,asprain ankle and impressions of the heel of a shoe on his back and on his legs. I have reported this to local authorities along with the school but because he is non-verbal I am not getting anywhere. The school claims nothing happened along with the Bus driver. I am having my son transferred to another school but he has to continue at the current one till the transfer is complete. I want justice for my son. Please help. I can not afford a attorney.

Write an email to the deputy chancellor outlining what is gong on include dates, times, people’s names. Put your schools code or name, your child’s name in subject line. Then include his osis # in the email somewhere or in subject line is fine too. You can and should also file a police report when he has injuries like that consistently – and the school and bus driver are giving you the run around.

for parents any were listen put your kid in boot camp school to help there anger and disobaying your orders

What Free boot camp

There is one for free call the youth challenge program. They are usually held at a military base. Look one up in your area. This is where I have to send my son because he steals phones from people when we take his away for getting suspended multiple times.

That would be great but unfortunately that is not a cheap alternative. For a single parent on one income even a private school is out of the question.

Nobody mentioned private school!!! What are you talking about??? I saw mention of BOOT CAMP.

Really! That’s the answer? Do you have children either on the spectrum or with special needs? Behavioral issues are typically a direct response of neurological disorders!

My 8 year old is homicidal and I have another child living with me. I have set up alarm systems and traps to wake us up if he gets up in the middle of the night, our life has been threatened on numerous occasions and last night he threatened to burn the house down because I took away his Ipad. The “crisis” center and his case manager say I am over reacting because I feel terrified of what he can do to us next. He has come at my daughter with a steak knife and my mother as well (like pounced on top of her to stab her). Last night I had no support and was supposed to take this wound up child to the er by myself because of his age they will not TO him. He qualifies for a 30-90 program but the county will not pay for the schooling portion which is several hundreds of dollars a day. HELP

I’m experiencing the same thing with my son I’m looking for some type of program or boot camp but can’t afford it I need help as well

Look up Lincoln’s challenge see if it might be what u are looking for.


Have you had any luck? I have a 13 year old that has homicidal ideation and has set multiple fires in the past. He has been hospitalized 4 times in less than a year, he comes home again on Monday. No one is taking my family’s fears seriously. He has attacked his little brother who has a heart condition, he has deliberately tripped me with a pot of boiling water (I am legally blind), and he has threatened to set my oldest son on fire in his sleep. Two of my children sleep with their doors locked and I don’t sleep because every creek in the house I’m up making sure it’s not my son carrying out his threats. I have been told on many occasions that the lack of help comes down to the dollar and cents and who will pay. I pray that my family isn’t the next one on the news…

My son is 13 he is disrespectful. Lies and is doing bad in school picks on his little brother yells and refuses to take his punishment. I love My son but he needs help

Your state should have a mental health agency that could begin the process of determining what might be the reason(s) for your child’s behavior. Try to find this agency for your state.

We live in Michigan. Mental Health Agencies, in Michigan known as Community Mental Health(CMH), only serve people on Medicaid. Not sure if this is the case in other states, but at least in Michigan, the state provides no mental health services to working folks with private insurance.

This is an example of why it is important for parents, & the public to learn how their state handles health care.

Hi Carol,
My advice may not be the best as I am studying to be a teacher but I thought I would take a chance with this. What I would do is as far as school I would talk to his teachers and see what the problem is there. Then once you speak to the teacher maybe go to his guidance counselor or the principal and see if they would evaluate him to see if there is a mental imbalance in his brain that is causing him to act out. I would also see if you could get a behavior intervention plan into place at the school to maybe curb some of his behavior. As far as home have you tried punishments, rewarding good behavior, praise when seen doing something good?

Wow you just described everything I have done with my 12 year old he have been hospitalized 3 times for the same problems and for the life of me I can’t understand why he obsessed with guns just today he pulled a bb gun out on a child and the child reacted by hitting him and he cried cause he don’t thank he did anything wronG he lied at first and said the child hit him because somebody told him too but when I talked too the child with his mother p remission he told me he pulled that gun out on him I need some serious help

My 6 year old was suspended 3 times in 1st grade. His behavior was out of control. He hated school, started hating me because I was the one who dropped him at school. I would get a call everyday from the principal to pick him up. I begged for an assessment and to get an IEP for him. I fought everyday for him. They ruined him. I finally got an evaluation after being denied, trying to talk to the superintendent, I threatened to go to the school board. 1 1/2 years later, he was granted an assesment from the school and was diagnosed with High Functioning Autism and Oppositional Defiant Disorder. You have to fight. He lost his light by teachers telling him he was bad, when in reality it was frustration. Please fight!

Thanks for sharing , my son is in that same place right now.. when he was in the fourth grade a teacher was always sending him to the office for him not sitting a his chair , saying things when not asked to speak . and then tells me he has adhd go take him to the doctors, but buy then she had labeled him as the bad kid in school ..sorry I have difficulty beliving in teachers are to help our kids espeally out here in lausd school distict . 4 years have passed and he is behind those 4 years with a IEP .. I need to find some help ..

I suggest contacting your state parent training & information project.

I have been there. I watched the public school system drain the bright bubbly son of mine become depressed and withdrawn. He was killed in an auto accident at 14 driven by a friend while skipping school. I have been driven to share any and all info I have learned. It has become a passion. I hope your child is doing well! The best thing a parent can doing is take charge and educate themselves as much as possible about rights and school responsibilities. It’s tough! I’ve know lawyers who had special needs children go thru the same hassles getting proper services for their kids! So share ,share share with anyone one and everyone if they are asking questions or if you know they need advice!

I have an 11 year old boy who is in the 5th grade. he was bullied by 7 or 8 graders. I don’t know to what level it was done, all I know that all of the sudden he started not wanting to go back to school, every time I took him he would cry. there was a couple of times where he waited till I left and started walking back to my car. I would turn around and he would be right behind me. he is repeating the 5th grade now and the school where he is going now is saying that he will go back to 5th grade again, because he has been absent too many times. I think I need him in a boarding school but, they are expensive and I can’t afford one, I live in Chicago, please any help or any advice.

I have a 3 year old and i say he’s out of control. He doesnt mind, wont listen. When I ask him to do something he doesnt. When I ask him to stop hitting and being ugly to his 11 month old sister he looks at me and laughs. He beats his sister.When I spank, it does no good. When I take his toys and TV from him it doesn’t work. He screams at me he hits me cause I spank him. He screams at his sister he pushes her, he throws things at her. I just don’t know what to do anymore. can someone please help me?

I feel you, my 10year son is horrible to everyone in our family and he brings out the worst in me as his mom. I loved to see me lose it.
I can no longer deal with this, I’m open to recommendations for this

Contact your school district special needs preschool department and request an evaluation.

Are you consistently enforcing your rules? Also positively reinforcement of good behaviors does work. I recommend 123 magic.

Hi Savannah my name is Stephanie i am also going thru the same thing with my 3 yr old he’s constantly beating on his 6 yr old brother and i also tried the punishment techniques that you have and constantly having to pick him up from Headstart.. Im wondering if you have any information that was given to you that might work for us?

Savannah, I know all to well how you are feeling. I have a 5 year old that I went through the exact same thing with. He is the baby of 3 and his older brothers are 14 and 12. When I first started noticing the disruptive and aggressive behavior I started documenting everything and scoured the internet. I finally discussed the situation with his doctor and was given a referral to a children hospital for a mental and behavior evaluation. At the very first evaluation he was diagnosed with ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder and ODD. Since then he has been receiving in home and out patient ABA therapy, the school has started him on an IEP as well. At our follow-up he was also diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. I recommend talking with his dr and getting the help he may need. Best of luck

I have a child that has been aggressive and having strange behaviors and oppositional. He started at age three and now ten years later his behavior has improved but it is still not preventing him from getting suspended for defiance. I have to get him an IEP three times and he was found to not be cognitively impaired enough yet they know he continues to not behave the same as the other students and it feels like the just want to suspend him for anything they can to get him out of the school. His behaviors now are not really aggressive. He says no to adults. He doesn’t’ use drugs or bully kids or bring weapons to school. I am so at a loss for what to do as I have tried to get him help and had him in counseling but no one has given him a proper diagnosis it seems.