Treating ADD: What works, what doesn’t, and why…
How far should parents and teachers go in structuring the environment?
Structuring is a method of managing behavior, promoting responsibility, encouraging independent functioning by changing the physical surroundings or by providing the organization necessary for completion of a task. It is a valuable tool for increasing the likelihood that the individual with ADD will achieve success.
Parents, teachers, and others need to find the balance between too little and too much structure. Too little structuring generally guarantees failure. Too much structuring can actually be detrimental to the individual with ADD. If the environment is too controlled or a task is too tightly organized, it actually takes away, from the individual with ADD, his need to control his inattention and to organize himself.
When over-structuring occurs, parents and teachers are actually allowing the individual with ADD to become overly dependent. They make it possible for the individual with ADD to avoid facing his weakness, accepting it, and developing appropriate compensatory strategies.
As a rule of thumb, to avoid over-structuring, parents, teachers, and childcare providers should only use structuring that is practical and applicable to the real world. Individuals with ADD need to learn to cope with the demands of a world where parents and teachers are not always present.
Did you know The Being Well Center is a team of experts who are here to support parents and teachers? In addition to doctors and PAs, we are counselors, nurses, dietitians, and behavioral therapists. We support the whole person through all of life’s demands.
Our current blog series is excerpted from Dr. Liden’s best-selling book, Pay Attention!: Answers to Common Questions About the Diagnosis and Treatment of Attention Deficit Disorder.