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Oma61 07-09-2003 10:57 AM

Asperger's and driving
Anybody out there know of any Asperger/HFA people who have a driver's license and the ability to drive? I don't hear much about issues with Asperger teens or adults and driving. I often wonder what will happen w/ my daughter when she gets to driving age. Unless she matures significantly in the motor control and memory areas, I think it would be unwise for her to drive. She's young yet, but I still think about this.

Any experience with this issue?

Sundance_Dawn 07-10-2003 07:39 AM

I don't know about Asperger's, but the symptoms of Nonverbal Learning Disorders are very similar to Asperger's and most people with NVLD have quite a few issues with driving (in particular with handling traffic and parking).

However, AFAIK one of the differences between NVLD and AS is that AS kids don't have the same visual/spatial difficulties, and since these are the cause for the driving problems, it might not affect AS kids quite as badly.

[This message has been edited by Sundance_Dawn (edited 07-10-2003).]

Oma61 07-10-2003 09:13 AM

Thanks for your reply! I hear so much info on children with AS, but just don't hear enough on what to expect when they are teens or adults.

Sundance_Dawn 07-10-2003 09:36 AM

You're welcome, this article might help you, it's a comparison of NVLD and AS and also goes into development past childhood etc. I have some nonverbal learning issues myself (as well as auditory processing problems) and the article made a lot of sense to me!

Oma61 07-10-2003 09:50 AM

Thanks again...I bookmarked the page!

Do you drive? What kind of issues did you have as a child...if you don't mind my asking??? Sometimes I just don't know what to expect for my daughter...she has a lot of issues. Many learning issues, especially in reading, remembering things, and relaying information to me. She is very verbal and has a large vocabulary, but is terrible at putting words together to have a really good conversation...although she has no problem putting words together to make her needs known. She is also very uncoordinated...runs into walls, doors, falls a lot. She can ride a bike now, but doesn't really like it...she would rather swing, collect "nature" or play with animals (not very gently, either!).

Sundance_Dawn 07-11-2003 06:29 AM

[quote]Originally posted by Oma61:
[b]Do you drive? What kind of issues did you have as a child...if you don't
mind my asking???[/b][/quote]

LOL well, let's just say I got my driving license in the end... ;)

I grew up in a family without a car, which didn't help (couldn't really practise outside of lessons), and my parents *made* me take lessons and pay for them myself. I was very, very slow at it, and often felt extremely frustrated, choking tears down, hyperventilating, lacking conentration etc. I spent a fortune on lessons (stopped counting after 30+ or so as it just worried me even more knowing I was taking so long), and was very frustrated with myself. In the end I got OK with it, got quite good at parking (something I could easily practise, and there are no other moving vehicles involved = much easier to handle) and could handle myself in traffic OK provided the traffic wasn't too hectic and it was a bright, clear day with no rain and enough light (I don't see very well in the dark).

I am overly cautious though and to this day I can't even cross a road without checking many times over because I don't trust my own roads sense. I haven't actually driven since my test (and that was about 6 or 7 years ago!) as I am far too anxious about driving and it is confusing and disorienting for me. However I am sure if I had grown up in a household with a car, I woul dhave a slightly different attitude - now I just feel public transport *has* to suffice, after all my parents never had a car so why should I?

All in all I always did better the more overview on the road I had - i.e. the higher the seat was or the less clutter there was in the car. I actually got my motorbike license out of my own accord and drove a Lambretta 125cc for about a year, I found that so much easier as you have a much better field of vision on a scooter. However I was still overly cautious and only drove it when the weather conditions were 100% perfect, so I ended up selling it in the end.

During my marriage (getting divorced now) I would have had plenty of opportunitis to pick up driving again but I was always too cautious and v. scared, combine that with a husband prone to blowing up in your face and you have a recipe for disaster! :eek:

As for problems I had as a child I guess I must have been gifted or something as I always managed quite well academically - that's why I never got diagnosed with anything (also I am from central Europe originally and kids don't get dragged to a psychologist unless they display some severe symptoms or have strong academic or social problems). I have however always felt like I'm "semi-autistic" and it was only when I learned about NVLD that I stopped feeling like some kind of weirdo or freak (I don't feel *normal* - *normal* is boring, anyway! :D )

But other than that it's pretty typical: Early speech, late walking, clumsy, some motor difficulties, great grammar/spelling but initial struggle in writing anything (I learned how to write essays at the beginning of high school and got very good at it), reading A LOT (I think rote learning of words/grammar contributes to increased grammar/spelling ability in NVLD), social problems/misunderstandings, inappropriate behaviour (talking to adults but not other kids, not knowing when/how to start a conversation, difficulty interpreting irony/jokes etc.), trouble with body language (reading and using) and tone/volume of voice, trouble organising (I started forgetting my homework, books etc. a lot during high school, but being a "goody-goody" student meant I didn't really get punished as they usually believed me), not taking part in discussions, not paying attention/taking part in class (I often scribbled, or made notes but never put my hand up or answered anything out of my own accord, even if I knew the answer and nobody else did), clumsy and inaccurate work (in cutting, woodwork, knitting etc.) v. bad handwriting at first, disorientation, messy eater (still am though :( ), problems getting dressed, constantly stubbing my toes on the skirting board, bad at sports (esp. team sports) and so on.

Academically I struggled with maths at first, especially geometry, trigonometry, Venn diagrams but I ended up getting my head round it and from high school to college I got very good at it, I 've always had extremely good rote memory skills but often felt like I didn't *get* any of the concepts, which made me feel stupid even though I usually got good grades, I also hid my frustration quite well so teachers were always impressed and found it hard to believe when I didn't *get* something.

What helped me most was that my parents never gave up and never let me give up - When I struggled with something they helped me and made me practise over and over until I got it done, they encouraged me to take up new hobbies (nothing ever really caught on though), practised juggling, ball catching, map reading etc. with me and so on - academically, one of the best things they taught me (they both left school v. young) was that if I didn't *get* something I should explain it to myself in words, as if I was explaining it to someone who'd never heard about it before - that REALLY helped me with maths/science etc.

When you have problems learning certain things the worst thing parents can do is let you get away with slacking in that area - otherwise you end up not pracising and the weak abilities in that area wither away entirely! :(

May I ask how old your daughter is now?

[This message has been edited by Sundance_Dawn (edited 07-11-2003).]

[This message has been edited by Sundance_Dawn (edited 07-11-2003).]

[This message has been edited by Sundance_Dawn (edited 07-11-2003).]

CSECZKO 07-12-2003 09:54 PM

Sorry this posting is late, I hope that you do get a chance to read it. My son Daniel is 15 years old and has aspergers. He was diagnosed late (11 years old). He passed his driving permit test last fall and he took his behind the wheel training from a local driving school, which was a struggle for him. Just recently we found a Suzuki Sidekick which has a windshield similar to a golf cart, small motor (it drives like one too) and he now drives several times a week. He will be taking his driving test in 2 months or so and he now has the confidence to drive due to the large visual area that the Sidekick has. I am aware that these can be tippy vehiclesdue to it being a SUV (a miniature one) but Dan will only be driving to school on back roads and for emergencies only. So I think if your child has a vehicle that they are comfortable with he/she will be able to do whatever she/he puts their mind to..

Oma61 07-14-2003 08:41 AM

Thanks very much for the replies! Sorry it took me so long to see them...I was offline over the weekend!

Sundance_Dawn, thanks for the very detailed was very helpful! My daughter is still very young, 7 1/2 years old! I know it is silly to start thinking about her driving at this age, but I do...can't help it! I have an almost 15 year old that will start driving soon, so it has been on my mind a lot. I worry more about my AS daughter's confusion, clumsiness and distractibility when it comes to driving more than anything...she is so distractible! She does have learning problems so she is in Sp Ed part of the day...don't know if that will make a difference to the school or not as far as drivers ed goes.

CSECZKO, thanks for your helpful reply, too! It is nice to hear about how older kids are handling life with AS! Glad to hear your son is getting his license and will get a chance to have that normal "rite of passage" every teen desires!

them4 07-15-2003 04:32 AM

Hello everyone. I have read through your messages and would like to ask some questions about Aspergers. My 11 year old nephew, was taken away by the authorities from his mother, sister and twin brother because he was "traumatised" by home life. The school was very worried about him and when we found out all of this had happened, he had been labelled with "aspergers" even though he has not been properly assessed.
He tells us everyone hates him, or treats him like a baby at school, and often has fits of rage, where he tries to hurt himself (hitting). He has been placed in a special unit at school, and because of his behaviour, is only allowed to be at school for 3 hours / day.
My mother is currently caring for him, but I am concerned that she is not strong enough to cope with his rages / tantrems.
I have never met or been involved with anyone who has this syndrome, so I do not know what to look for, what triggers him off, or how to help him.
It appears that he "trys it on" mostly with women. My husband has not seen my nephews "other side", as he only appears to have these rages when women are present.
He has not very socially educated, and says things to people that other 11 year olds would know would be the wrong thing. He appears to speak without thinking of the consiquences of what he is saying.
Does this all sound like Aspergers Syndrome?
If you have any comments about what I have stated, please reply. Because he is only in the care of my mother, and is really a "ward of the state" we don't know if we can get him fully assessed to find out if he has aspergers or if there are other underlying issues with his behaviour.
PLease help if you can.


summer33ny 07-21-2003 09:17 PM

From your post, I don't think your nephew has asperger's. It sounds like more of an emotional disorder.
For the original poster...I work with college age students with asperger's and I also have a 17 yr old brother with asperger's. Only about half of the kids I work with drive. They have a lot of trouble with direction however and get lost easily. I think it's more of an issue of not wanting to drive rather than not being able to drive.

summer33ny 07-21-2003 09:20 PM

them- I just noticed your from Queensland! I just had to bring it up cause I studied at The University of Queensland.

Oma61 07-22-2003 07:48 AM


Thanks for the reply!

samlin 08-04-2003 10:07 PM

,my 27 year old son has his drivers license but has not driven in about 3 years because he feels unsafe when he tries to drive-he has problems judging distance and speed of other vehicles. He was diagnosed with Aspergers in his late teens. Prior to that there were several other diagnosis- everything from early childhood pervasive developmental disorder to childhood schizophrenia. He is angry about all the medicines he toook prior to correct diagnosis of Aspergers.

cutup 08-19-2003 07:36 PM

My son drives. He passed his test on the first try. We had him practicing for several years in our driveway and going over the driving manual also for years. He had an accident in the winter when he slid off of a snowy road. He was driving very slowly but the road was bad. He used poor judgement in taking a back country road instead of a major highway. He was concerned about black ice on the highway and thought the country roads would be better. We felt that anyone would have had a problem where he lost control and we had to explain that the major roads would have been cleared sooner and now he understands. He evidently had heard of black ice and how dangerous it was and took it very literal. We feel comfortable sending him out in his vehicle in our hometown area. We would not want him driving in heavy traffic or in unfamiliar areas. I think it would be too overwhelming.

Oma61 08-27-2003 01:46 PM

Thanks for the replies Samlin and Cutup!

You are right about accidents on wintry roads...that can happen to anyone.

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