Autistic Adult Lessons

Driving Lessons for autistic adults

gives independence and builds confidence

Teaching people to drive who are on the Autistic Spectrum should not be a barrier to learning

Laugh n Pass & 1st Drive Forward have available Driving instructors who are competent in teaching any person who has difficulties with communication and socializing skills.

Many people of the autistic spectrum take driving lessons and have no difficulties at all on mastering the driving skills.

Can my child take lessons?

As a parent, you understand how to relate and communicate with your child without causing too much anxiety. For a Driving Instructor with no understanding, it would most likely cause an uncomfortable and almost impossible learning environment.

Driving Instructors can not only recognize the signs but they are able to adapt teaching methods to suit individual needs. For example, communication can be the most difficult aspect for those with Asperger’s [syndrome].  

Subtleties of communication can often be missed as information can just go in one ear and out the other.  The Driving Instructors at Laugh n Pass use varied techniques of communication to aid understanding.

Social interaction

The driving instructors are selective and careful when choosing words, for instance, driving instructor’s avoid using sarcasm or innuendo’s and deal with things factually. Giving simple and concise information that can not be open to interpretation.

We are also aware that autistic learners may have difficulties understanding gestures, body language, facial expressions and tone of voice, making it difficult to judge or understand the reactions of those they are talking to or to empathize with people’s feelings.

The learner may unintentionally appear insensitive or rude to others and can give quite blunt responses so it is important that our driving iinstructors do not take offense.

Passed learners have spoken out when they do not understand something and the feedback the driving instructors receive is much more honest than those without autistic spectrum disorders.

Importantly the Driving instructors at Laugh n Pass are happy to teach learners within the autistic spectrum. They will incorporate the use of techniques to build on low self-esteem. The focus is on building confidence then correct the faults.

Rules regarding fitness to drive

Speak to your Doctor :Initially it may be worth discussing the plan to learn to drive with your GP. Your GP will have access to the DVLA guidelines for people with a disability and will be able to go through these with you.

The at-a-glance guide to the current medical standards of fitness to drive can be accessed at: www.dvla.gov.uk/media/pdf/medical/aagv1.pdf Standards relating to autism and Asperger syndrome can be accessed on page 32 of this guide.

The medical standards specifically consider the impulsive and behavior that can be present in autism and Asperger syndrome in relation to fitness to drive. However, each case is judged on an individual basis.
It may also be worth contacting the DVLA medical adviser to discuss this further.

Driving licences Application for a provisional license

The normal minimum age for driving is 17 but if you are getting Disability Living Allowance (DLA) higher rate mobility you can learn to drive at 16.


The rules that require you to disclose a diagnosis of an ASD and procedure for applying for a driving licence can be found on the DVLA website: www.dvla.gov.uk/medical.aspx

In the case of autistic spectrum disorders, barriers to holding a licence might include a history of epilepsy, perceptual problems, difficulties with multi-tasking, poor motor control or dyspraxia and problems with sequencing.

These should not be an absolute barrier to gaining a licence but you will need to be aware that they may present difficulties. We always recommend starting with manual driving lessons rather than automatic as changing gear for some can keep them focused and alert.

Autism Helpline

 

Tel: 0808 800 4104 (open 10.00am-4.00pm, Monday-Friday)
Text: 07903 200 200
Minicom service: 0845 070 4003
Email enquiry service: visit www.autism.org.uk/enquiry and complete the online form

The Autism Helpline provides impartial, confidential information, advice and support for people with autism spectrum disorders, their families, professionals, researchers and students.