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Kids, Where’s My Car?

My inattentive ADHD gave me — and my kids — a big scare on a recent family outing. Luckily, I’ve learned strategies to stop it from happening again.

A child with OCD refusing to get into the car
Child and dog near car

Recently, my two sons and I visited Philadelphia for the first time. We parked downtown, got the ticket to the parking deck, and headed off to see the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and a host of other monuments. We had a great time. Four hours later, we returned — or tried to, until my ADHD got in the way. Turns out, there were lots of parking decks that looked just like the one where I had left the car.

My parking ticket didn’t help. It listed the name of the company, which owned 15 parking lots in Philadelphia. This mishap was my fault, and I should have known better. Inattentive ADHD causes me problems with direction. Researchers believe that it is due to visual system deficiencies. I didn’t care at that point. I just wanted to find our car.

We finally found the right parking deck, but not before my kids questioned my sanity. I thought they might cut me some slack, considering that I spend my life doing stuff for them. They didn’t. They badmouthed me, probably because they were scared.

[Self-Test: Do You Have a Working Memory Deficit?]

Scaring my kids forced me to change my behavior. After that upsetting parking incident, I now use my smartphone to remember where I parked. Before I leave the lot, I pull up Google Maps, and touch and hold on my location, to “drop a pin.” I touch the address at the bottom of my screen, select “Share,” and e-mail myself the number of my parking spot.

If my children drive along with me, they do not let me leave the car until I do all of these steps. Now the kids are calmer, I am calmer, and, best of all, I haven’t lost our car ever again.


Updated on January 18, 2019

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