Drive a car if you are autistic: Autistic people may have more difficulty driving. Some people on the spectrum cannot drive safely, but others eventually learn to, albeit slowly. Many autistic people can drive safely, and some even make a living teaching others to drive. It will make your life so much easier and increase your level of independence if you feel confident enough to drive your own vehicle.
Learning to drive can be an exciting and stressful time in your life and is often associated with independence. Due to differences in executive functioning, driving may make you or your child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) especially cautious. There was so much going on that I felt like I had just shut down. He couldn’t tell the distance to other vehicles, especially when he was trying to get out onto a main road, nor his speed. The instructor told me I had plenty of time to hit the road, but I sat there thinking the oncoming traffic was too close and going too fast.
drive a car if you are autistic
Some of the obstacles included being too bound by the rules, being easily distracted, and integrating what other drivers are doing with his own required hand-eye-foot coordination. The instructors believed that careful skill development instruction over an extended period of time could overcome many of these obstacles. Strengths included complying with traffic laws, paying close attention to their surroundings while driving, and limiting risk-taking.
The instructors felt that these strengths help students become competent drivers. For some teens, getting a driver’s license can symbolize their freedom and their new life as adults. But not all teens count the days until they get their driver’s license. I learned to drive in high school along with the rest of my classmates. At that point in my life, I didn’t know I was autistic. What I did know, however, was that I was afraid, and instinctively I knew that I was not ready to drive.
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Is it legal for autistic people to drive?
It is true that autistic people can drive. To get a driver’s license in your state, autistic people must pass the same tests as non-autistic people.
According to a study, the average time it takes for autistic teens to get a driver’s license is two years. However, with proper training and preparation, as well as perseverance and patience, driving is doable.
Why can autism make driving difficult?
A person with autism cannot be legally prohibited from obtaining a driver’s license. However, there are several obstacles and safety concerns to consider, such as impaired motor function and problems multitasking.
Research suggests that autistic drivers may experience the following difficulties in this regard:
- challenges in concentrating on one’s own driving while paying attention to what other drivers are doing on the road
- Slower detection time for road hazards.
- be easily distracted
- being too bound by rules about
- inability to identify social cues, appears to be glued to vehicle
- Nervousness related to comorbidities, such as ADHD or anxiety disorders.
- Reduced self-confidence in the car.
Strengths associated with autism and driving.
On the other hand, research also shows that autistic drivers have certain strengths that other drivers may not possess. These include:
- desire to strictly comply with driving rules
- obey traffic rules
- Limited risk taking, such as speeding
- pay more attention to your general driving environment
- being able to remember details and information for long periods of time
Additionally, evidence indicates that youth with autism are less likely than other new drivers to receive traffic tickets and have their licenses suspended. However, the overall chances of a collision are comparable for new drivers.
How do you know if your autistic child is ready to drive?
Your autistic teen should first express an interest in driving before taking formal lessons, although driving is an essential life skill that can also help you travel to school, work, and socializing. They will want to keep practicing because that participation can help them stay interested in your lessons.
At the same time, it’s never too early to talk to your child’s pediatrician about driving. So if your doctor thinks you need more help, you can get related therapies before your child is old enough to drive.
Your teen’s current ability to independently perform other self-care tasks is another indicator of readiness to drive. Personal hygiene, housework, and school assignments are examples of this.
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