I was in a meeting with a parent at school the other day and we were talking about her child and how he was doing at school and home. The more the mom talked the more I was thinking about how much compensation she does for her child every day it makes sense why he does “so well” within the home setting.

Compensation can be helpful and important at times, but in general what is accomplished with compensation? By always compensating for our children just to keep them happy and things on an even keel what is that doing to help our children reach a quality of life? When we use compensation are we helping our child build life-long relationships, think flexibly and become a problem solver?

Having said all of this please take a moment over the next few days to think to yourself about whether you are compensating or guiding your own child.

Talk to you soon,


  • Penny
    November 9, 2007

    I propose we have a chat on the topic of “compensation” one of these nights…

  • November 9, 2007

    I think treatment is learning to balance the need for compensations (especially for sensory and executive functioning issues) with the drive to teach competency. You want to calm and organize the nervous system so the child can learn to risk, follow the lead of the parent, and begin to think more flexibly. That all goes with knowing how to scaffold and frame the experience. I think you have to know how to effectively use the compensations to nudge the child forward.


  • Nicole Beurkens
    November 12, 2007

    There is a difference between compensating and scaffolding that needs to be recognized. A compensation is something that is a work-around where the intent is not for the child to learn something new and move forward as a result. Scaffolding is a temporary support we put in place while the child is becoming more competent, with the full intent of removing the scaffolding (usually incrementally) as they child’s competence increases. Understanding the difference is really key because use of compensations alone will not help the child grow, but lack of scaffolding also will not allow the child to grow. There has to be an appropriate level of scaffolding for the child to grow in increments that are appropriate and comfortable for them, but that is very different from just compensating for a weakness or obstacle.

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