Conduct disorder

Conduct disorder is a broad term which refers to a difficulty or inability to comply with instructions and direction. Indicative features of a conduct disorder include aggressive and/or destructive behaviour, lying, stealing and refusing to attend school.

Assessment for conduct disorder should normally also consider ADHD and depression. If screening for these is negative, a referral to a psychologist for a formal assessment of conduct disorder should take place.

Typically, the main treatment for conduct disorder is cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT).

Children with a conduct disorder are likely to have significant difficulties engaging with education and attending school. A child with a conduct disorder is likely to have special educational needs (SEN). In some cases, SEN additional support may be adequate, whereas in others an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) will be necessary.

In our experience, a child with a conduct disorder can be simply thought of as ‘naughty’ and not receive adequate support. It is very important that careful assessment of the impact of the child’s needs is required to establish the necessary level of support and special educational needs advice should be sought.


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