Study: Despite Looking Both Ways, Kids With ADHD Have Trouble Crossing Streets
Crossing the street safely can be tricky for kids with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, who may be more likely than their peers to be hit by a car, a new study suggests. Researchers tracked 117 children ages 7 to 10, of whom 76 had ADHD and 39 did not. Although the ADHD group understood how to cross the street safely, looking both ways and waiting for a gap in traffic, they were more apt to cross without sufficient space between cars, according to findings published Sunday in Pediatrics. That's likely because ADHD, a condition characterized by distractibility, forgetfulness, and impulsivity, interferes with timing and planning skills. "We've told parents to make sure their kids look left and right," study author Despina Stavrinos, an assistant professor in the Injury Control Research Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, told Time. "But that might not be enough for kids with ADHD."
Surviving ADHD at Work and School
School means seven classes with seven different teachers. Work means all day, five days a week, in a pressure-filled, deadline-oriented office. In either setting, there are assignments to juggle, time to manage, and priorities to organize. For someone with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, success in school or the workplace is a moving and elusive target.
"People with ADHD can't make it out the door on time. They have trouble finishing projects, problems with paperwork, and usually, a disaster of an office," said psychotherapist Terry Matlen, author of Survival Tips for Women with ADHD. When you take the symptoms of ADHD and put them into a work or school setting, there's more than likely going to be a struggle."
About 4 percent of adults and children are believed to have ADHD. They are forgetful and hyperactive, have trouble staying focused and paying attention, and understand or follow instructions with difficulty—all symptoms that can wreak havoc on educational and professional success. Up to a third of students with ADHD drop out of high school, and they're also less likely to attend and graduate from college.
It's no better in the workplace: Adults with ADHD lose an average of three weeks a year of productivity, according to the World Health Organization. They earn less than their coworkers, take more sick days, have more on-the-job accidents, and are more likely to be fired. They also don't get the support that students do. To succeed, they must take the lead by developing coping strategies themselves. [Read more: Surviving ADHD at Work and School.]
Can Your Relationship Survive ADHD?
Maybe he's the husband who manages his time poorly, grows bored within minutes, and falls through on promises to mow the lawn or get groceries. Maybe she's the wife who's disorganized and cluttered, overlooks details, and flits from one activity to the next. "One of the most common things I hear is, 'If you really loved me, you would remember to close the cabinets in the kitchen, or pay the bills on time, or call before you leave work,'" says psychotherapist Walter Sherburne of Andover, Mass. "I know one couple who ended up divorced because the husband decided he just couldn't live with someone who didn't close the kitchen cupboards."
Welcome to an ADHD marriage.
"When you put the symptoms of [attention deficit hyperactivity disorder] into a marriage, it creates havoc," says Matlen. "There's a lot of anger and resentment. You think your husband doesn't love you anymore, but he's completely dumbfounded because he has ADHD and doesn't have a good sense of how his behavior affects other people. Things can start to unravel pretty quickly."
Indeed, the divorce rate is nearly twice as high for people with ADHD as it is for other couples, says marriage consultant Melissa Orlov, author of The ADHD Effect on Marriage. Symptoms include trouble staying focused and paying attention, difficulty understanding or following instructions, and hyperactivity, or fidgeting frequently and talking excessively. In adults, ADHD usually isn't diagnosed until symptoms persist and spread into multiple aspects of daily life, from success at work to the ability to form romantic relationships. There is no cure, but adult ADHD symptoms can generally be minimized with medication, therapy, or both. [Read more: Can Your Relationship Survive ADHD?]
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