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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Driving advice for teens with ADHD

A developmental-behavioral pediatrician with a private practice specializing in children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Betsy Busch is not someone who, well, beats around the bush. She's a straight-talker and when she wants to make a point, her voice takes on a distinctive quality. In print, it would be bold-faced and italicized. So when we were at lunch last week and I heard it creeping in, I took notes.

"Children who have ADHD should never drive without their medication. Never," she said. There were spaces between her words. Never was in all caps. "Google it," she added. "You'll see what I mean."

I did, and I do. For more on ADHD teens and driving, read this, this, and this.

In a subsequent email conversation, Busch, who has scaled down her practice so she can lecture more, also shared some of her Power-Point slides, below.

Advise for Young Drivers with ADHD:

1. NEVER get behind the wheel unless you have taken your medication. NEVER!

2. If driving very late, patient may need an additional dose of medication for driving

3. Minimize distractions:
do not use cell phone - even with “hands free”
do not adjust radio, CD, etc. unless you pull over
no eating, nailpolish, reading maps, etc., while driving

4. Do not drive when angry. Drive smart, even if another driver does something stupid.

Advise for Parents of Young Drivers with ADHD:

1. Do not allow young drivers to drive with other teens in the car until parents are secure that their child has adequate driving experience and judgment.

2. Remain vigilant and involved. Be sure your son/daughter is on medication when he/she drives.

3. Support graduated licensure programs.

4. Make sure driving is a privilege, not an entitlement, for young drivers.

5. No medication “holidays” for young drivers!! Most accidents involving young drivers occur:after 3 P.M.; on weekends; during summer months. If your teen with ADHD drives during any of these times, he/she should be on his/her medication. ADHD is NOT just a school-related problem; it can cause impairment in many areas of life, including driving.

6. Evidence favors the use of extended-release medications over shorter-acting products.
(Courtesy of Betsy Busch, MD)

Posted by Barbara Meltz at 10:28 AM
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