ADD: Setting up Systems

Children and adults with Attention Deficit Disorder are not crazy, nor are they out to drive those around them crazy! They have a genetic difference in functioning of the pre-frontal cortex of the brain, which causes them to react more strongly to stimuli and subsequently have difficulty focusing.

Systems are not tools to fix something broken
Successful people, no matter what their situation in life, have developed systems and strategies that streamline their activities. They know that tools and assistance are necessary to accomplish what they want to do in any given period of time. So when we incorporate systems with our children, it is not to "fix" them, but rather to enhance their natural abilities and develop talent and ability.

Organizing daily tasks
The natural reaction with someone who has Add is to drop their personal belongings wherever they are or forget where they have left them. So a simple system is to have one place in the house that is designated for just one purpose. For all keys it might be a key hook by the back door, for books it might be on top of the book case and jackets belong in the front closet and no where else in the house.

Some organizers have called this spot "a launch pad" meaning that there is one and only one place that the whole family uses for that particular use. This means much less frustration trying to reconstruct where the jacket or book might have been dropped, where you had the keys last and where you might have left them.

Consistent effort makes automatic action
The nature of system is very simple. It is a method that helps the brain to automatically think and react in a certain way. Little systems go together to make big systems and to lessen the clutter and confusion so that life can be spent having fun and not fighting about where the library book is and whose responsibility it is to keep track of it. Add brains look for things they can do in sequential ways.

Use brainstorming to come up with systems
The person with ADD is usually highly intelligent and extremely creative, which is just what gets them into trouble, because they usually have a better way or new idea. If, as a family in a group meeting, you allow that creative side to come forth and suggest methods and systems, the child will assume "ownership" of the ideas.

What is the worst thing that can happen?
The system will only work for a week or so? Well, what you are doing now, isn't working is it? So at least you will have had a window of looking at old problems with new eyes. Maybe the system didn't fail, but just needs to be tweaked and refined for your family. Habits become automatic action and so we want to establish good ones which will allow us to move forward to a successful and fulfilling life.