Learning to drive with cognitive impairment : the experience of young ADHD diagnosed drivers and their parent supervisors
White, Melanie J. (2009) Learning to drive with cognitive impairment : the experience of young ADHD diagnosed drivers and their parent supervisors. In Proceedings of Australasian Road Safety Research, Policing and Education Conference, Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, Sydney, New South Wales.
A subset of novice drivers exhibit executive function impairments which may adversely impact on the learn-to-drive period and subsequent driving experience, potentially explaining their overrepresentation in traffic offences and crashes. This paper presents the results of a qualitative analysis of a small series of in-depth semi-structured interviews undertaken individually with affected young drivers (n = 7) and each of their parent supervisors (n = 6). Young drivers were selected on the basis of their ADHD diagnosis, as a sample particularly affected by executive function impairments. Standardised rating scale measures confirmed the currency of the young drivers’ ADHD symptoms and executive function impairment. Results are discussed in terms of common experiences of the young affected drivers and those of their parents as supervising drivers of the learn-to-drive process and subsequent driving behaviour. Key themes included difficulties that were related to core executive function impairments symptomatic of ADHD. Themes also included common emotions that the young drivers associated with driving, with particular types of impact on their driving behaviour. Common strategies that were used by both the young driver and their parent during this learning process and their perceived effectiveness are also discussed. Those that were perceived to be most effective tended to focus on reducing the cognitive load for the young driver when introducing new information and skills.
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