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Childhood Mental Disorders and Illnesses
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Introduction to Disorders of ChildhoodIntellectual DisabilitiesMotor Skills DisordersLearning DisordersCommunication DisordersAutism and Pervasive Developmental DisordersADHD and Disruptive Behavior DisordersFeeding and Elimination DisordersAnxiety DisordersReactive Attachment DisorderStereotypic Movement DisorderTic DisordersInfancy, Childhood or Adolescence, Not Otherwise Specified
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Autism Spectrum Disorder
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Disruptive Behavior Disorder NOS and Recommended Reading for Conduct Disorder / ODD

Andrea Barkoukis, M.A., Natalie Staats Reiss, Ph.D., and Mark Dombeck, Ph.D.

Disruptive Behavior Disorder Not Otherwise Specified

Sometimes, clinicians become aware of cases where a child's behavior is clearly disruptive to the extent that there is a real problem occurring, and yet, not enough symptoms are present to warrant the diagnosis of either Conduct Disorder or Oppositional Defiant Disorder. This may be because the circumstances of the child's behavior are unique, or because not enough information has been collected early on in the child's treatment to make a full diagnosis. In such cases, clinicians may use the Disruptive Behavior Disorders Not Otherwise Specified (NOS) diagnosis, which is a kind of catch-all diagnosis for disruptive behavior problems in children.

A child diagnosed with Disruptive Behavior Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (NOS) has some features of Conduct Disorder or Oppositional Defiant Disorder, but not all of the symptoms necessary to meet the full DSM criteria for either disorder. The child demonstrates significantly impaired interpersonal and family relationships, and/or disturbed school functioning. The Not Otherwise Specified diagnosis enables the diagnosing clinician to document that there is a real behavioral problem occurring, but to do so in a tentative manner, which can be clarified in greater detail at a later time as more information becomes available.

Recommended reading:

Socially ADDept: A Manual for Parents of Children with ADHD and/or Learning Disabilities by Janet Z. Giler

Delivered from Distraction: Getting the Most out of Life with Attention Deficit Disorder by Edward M. Hallowell, MD, John J. Ratey

Driven to Distraction: Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder from Childhood Through Adulthood by Edward M. Hallowell, MD, John J. Ratey

The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander by: Barbara Coloroso

The Defiant Child: A Parent's Guide to Oppositional Defiant Disorder by Douglas Riley

Transforming the Difficult Child by Howard Glasser and Jennifer Easley