Do they suffer injury more often?
Research reported in the September/October issue of Academic Pediatrics reveals that young ADHD adolescents face unintended injury at nearly twice the rate of their peers.
“Preventing injuries is probably not the primary reason to treat ADHD, but it is one of many positive consequences that should emerge if ADHD is properly treated,” first author David C. Schwebel, PhD, professor and vice chair, Department of Psychology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, told Medscape Medical News (http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/750259). “Both psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy have evidence of efficacy,” he added.
Dr. Schwebel and colleagues found a significant association between ADHD symptoms and an increased risk for injury. In an ethnically diverse group of children with a median age of 11 years, Schwebel and his colleagues found that fourteen percent of study participants suffered 1 or more injuries requiring medical attention in the previous year. The most common injuries were broken bones (52%), joint injuries/sprains/strains (15%), and cuts/bruises (15%). The risk of injury increased with the increase of ADHD symptoms. Boys also presented higher risk of injury than girls.
Dr. Schwebel’s results resonate and make sense to parents of ADHD children. These children often have impulse control problems. Inattention to their environment is common which can result in greater chance of injury as well.
Dr. Schwebel said in addition to treatment of ADHD, “if clinicians have time and resources to focus especially on injury prevention in children with ADHD, considering ways to help children recognize potentially dangerous situations, perhaps through cognitive techniques, might be helpful to reduce injury risk.”
“Recognition of danger and invocation of executive function/self-inhibition skills might be helpful to children with ADHD if clinicians can successfully train or hone such skills,” Dr. Schwebel added.
Using Play Attention to help decrease inattention and control impulsivity is a great start. Our Motor Skills module teaches mind/body coordination to help reduce injury. We’re in development of a specific Play Attention game that will help teach valuable skills to identify dangerous situations. It will be available in the near future.