ADD is a neurochemical disorder. How a child or adult learns to cope with it, however, is determined primarily by psychological and social factors. With or without medication coping strategies must be developed. These strategies can help improve the quality of life or they can reduce options and produce profound functional problems, i.e. failure in school, work and family.

The ADD individual must learn to self-monitor and self-manage ADD to a great extent. It is their responsibility to take an active role from the assessment stage through treatment, even for young children. Parents and teachers, for example, often direct, control and manage the child and his environment. The child can accept the often needed and helpful interventions, but he may come to depend on this, reducing self-reliance. Or he can resist these interventions and learn better avoidance and oppositional behavior, becoming punished and marginalized.

Having active participation of the ADD child or adult in all stages of assessment and treatment helps the individual to be more resilient and resourceful in a wide range of settings and situations. The child or adult also often has hidden resources they can use to enhance the chances of success. Even negative behaviors can be redirected to produce a positive outcome. The prognosis for success can be excellent.