Effective Decision Making Tool with ADD

Effective Decision Making Tool with ADD
As an educator who works with people who have neurological differences, one of the things that I have been tasked to do is to teach decision making skills. Often, when faced with a tough decision, folks with Attention Deficit Disorder will just “go with their gut.” That’s fine, if you have a lot of experiences to draw from, but what can you do if you are facing a novel set of problems? Get out your SOCS and do a deep dive into your brainstorming skills! What is SOCS?

SOCS is a decision making tool that can be used by college students and people of all ages to work through problems. It is not a difficult process to learn. You need to brainstorm! Brainstorming is when you get your good, creative ideas down on paper, and you do not try to censor yourself.

SOCS stands for the first letters in the words situation, options, consequences, and solutions. Those are the steps, in order, of the process used to figure out what to do about a problem. SOCS is easy to remember, so that you can do the steps in order.

Situation-tell what the situation/problem is. Use your own words, and be specific.
(Situation=the problem that you need to find a solution for.)

Options-list at least 3 options that you could use to deal with the situation.
(Options=what actions you can take to make the situation better.)

Consequences-for each option, list at least 3 consequences that could happen.
(Consequences=what can happen if you take a certain action-these can be good or bad.)

Solutions-What option or options would work best to help your situation? It’s fine to combine options to make a practical solution that unscrambles your situation that you need resolved.

You need paper and a writing tool to do a SOCS. I like to use at least three sheets of lined paper. On sheet one, I write a detailed explanation of the situation or problem that needs to be solved. Then, I write all of the options that I can think of. This is the first brainstorming session. Don’t censor yourself. Write down EVERYTHING THAT YOU CAN THINK OF THAT MIGHT BE A PART OF A SOLUTION. You need to have AT LEAST three. If you don’t have three, you are not working hard enough!

After that, I write the options on the sheets of paper and leave at least ten blank lines between each option. This is where you write the consequences. Here is another brainstorming session. Again, you need at least three consequences for each option. More is definitely better. Remember, consequences just means what happens if you choose an option. They can be good consequences or bad. An option can bring some desired and some undesired consequences.

Go through your options and consequences to come up with a solution that can make the situation better. It’s fine to draw from several options/consequences to formulate the best possible solution. Use that creativity that neurodiversity confers on you!

I still use SOCS when I have a big decision to make. Sometimes I write by hand, while others, I use my computer. When I had to decide whether to stay at a school or take another job, I used SOCS. I also used it to decide whether to buy a new car, or not. Of all of the things that I learned in Grad School, SOCS has been the most helpful for students making effective decisions and for my own decision making.

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You Should Also Read:
ADD Executive Function and Intense Exercise
College Organization and Learning Tools for ADD
A College Syllabus and Students with ADD

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This content was written by Connie Mistler Davidson. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Connie Mistler Davidson for details.