I think all parents worry about their child’s future and safety. When you have a child with ADHD, these worries are twofold. There is a stigma attached to ADHD, and I constantly worry that allowing the diagnosis to be made may have set up my son for a lifetime of judgement and low expectations. I worried about prescribing medication, and now that he is on medication and we see him doing so well both socially and academically, I worry that he will always need medication in order to see this kind of success.
Today I learned something new about ADHD, another thing for me to worry about….
Teen boys with ADHD have a 35% higher rate of automobile accidents than those without. That is according to a study done at the University of Toronto.
This fact in itself doesn’t surprise me at all. The study cites “As drivers or pedestrians, young males with the disorder are more likely to be injured in traffic accidents”. If they increased their study to include children, I think they would see a higher increase in accidents when there is a child with ADHD in the vehicle. They are loud. They are distracting. They annoy their siblings and make them shriek. They kick your seat, and play with window and lock buttons, and talk incessently. These are things that all of my children are guilty of at some point or another, but the one with ADHD is guaranteed to behave this way on every car ride (pre-medication). Kids with ADHD aren’t as aware of their surroundings and don’t consider consequences, so racing out into the road without looking is something that could happen even with an older child.
Since Kellen is just 7, I haven’t worried too much about him as a driver, and this study has kicked that worry into gear prematurely. It was so difficult to let Eric drive off in a car, even when he had his license and I knew that he had taken driver’s education. How will I ever let Kellen do it?
But I want him to drive, and not have limitations because of ADHD.
The doctor who performed the study recommends placing limitations on driving for people with ADHD, similar to those placed on people with epilepsy. This is outrageous to me! With epilepsy, you can look at a time frame and determine how many seizures a person has had, and make a medical decision. What is the comparison for ADHD? How do you measure attention span?
I would like to see a similar study done that includes adults and girls with ADHD; and a study that includes medicated vs non-medicated. For now, I’m going to try not to worry about it. After all, we have almost 9 years before he’s even old enough to think about driving.