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Autistic(Aspergers syndrome) and driving

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Old 04-25-2005, 08:15 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Syracuse NY
Posts: 91
Carina HB User
Smile Autistic(Aspergers syndrome) and driving

My brother who is to turn 16 at the end of the year, is so impatient to learn to drive. I am unsure if he would be capable to drive a car. I believe that it will be great if he would be able to drive and take care of himself when the time comes. I was wondering if any of you know someone with aspergers that drives??? I am quite certain that I would not be able to drive him to where he wants to go 24/7, seeing I will be starting college soon and after that will have a job. I am planning to help support him, but I want him to learn and be independant, for the time comes when none of us will be around to help him. Do you think its possible?

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Old 05-26-2008, 12:01 PM   #2
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Manitoba, Canada
Posts: 4
stepdad75 HB User
Re: Autistic(Aspergers syndrome) and driving

I have a step-son who is 17 and his mother and I are wondering the exact same things you are. Loads of insight and questions to share with anyone listening. I think all of us are learning about this together .... seeing how it suddenly crept up and bit the past couple of generations in the butt and turned it into an Epidemic.

Old 05-26-2008, 02:43 PM   #3
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Southeastern USA
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roses4lace HB User
Re: Autistic(Aspergers syndrome) and driving

I am a 52 year old with Asperger's. I learned to drive, and a number of my Aspie friends drive. It took longer for me to learn, because I had difficulty with the clutch, brake, changing gears, remembering to watch in all the mirrors, etc. But I was determined, and I practiced every day in my parents front yard. On the other hand, my 25 year old son never wanted to drive until late last year. He had private driving lessons, but still doesn't practice. So I don't know when or if he will get his license.

Speaking for myself only, I never try to take on something that I'm not certain I can do. It might take me longer than someone who has better physical skills than myself, and I may never be as good as someone with natural skills, but once I decide, I am determined and nothing will stop me. I may even pause for days, weeks, or years to "catch my breath", but then take up the effort again. If your brother wants to drive, I would encourage it and provide lots of practice time.

If anything Aspies are way too cautious based on what I've heard from other parents. My son will go 30 mph in a 55 mph zone, and have no desire to drive faster. Back roads are best for us to begin with, interstates and rush hour traffic can come way later. As we get more comfortable, we start driving as fast as the rest of you!

A word of advice - don't volunteer this information to the auto insurance agent. My agent asked why I thought my son wasn't driving, and I told him. They immediately put him in a high risk category, which doubled his insurance rate. This has been going on for 2 years now, and my son has driven our vehicle about 3 times, total. Darned if I'll ever tell them about my own Asperger's! I have a very good driving record for the past 30 years. I felt like they should have put him in a low risk category, not a high risk one.

Old 06-07-2008, 09:02 PM   #4
Join Date: Nov 2006
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Cathy01 HB User
Re: Autistic(Aspergers syndrome) and driving

I was wondering how other Aspie's took to driving. My son, 17, has his permit for 1 year now but when I take him out driving (only on back roads or warehouse areas after hours and weekends) he is really having a hard time, very nervous. He wants to learn but I don't know if it is working. He really has a hard time with watching everything going on at the same time. Trouble keeping in correct lane. Really nervous if another car or someone walking on side of road. He is really high functioning otherwise, is on tennis team at high school (not very good but enjoys it) Will he (me too) ever be comfortable driving? I just don't know what to do to help him. Any suggestions?

Old 06-08-2008, 06:46 AM   #5
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GatsbyLuvr1920 HB UserGatsbyLuvr1920 HB User
Re: Autistic(Aspergers syndrome) and driving

I have Asperger's, and I still don't know how to drive. I tried taking lessons once, but it was a disaster. I never got out of the parking lot. I also have OCD, so that adds to why I don't drive. My OCD is why I have the FEAR of driving (fear of hurting somebody, fear of doing something wrong, fear of damaging property, etc.), and my AS is why I don't have the actual ABILITY to drive. I have lots of visual-spatial deficits that some people with Asperger's have, so driving just isn't well-suited to me. I have always had trouble knowing my right from my left, so steering was a nightmare. I also have trouble judging depth and speed, so when I practiced parking, I never knew if I was where I was supposed to be. Plus, driving requires the ability to understand other drivers' actions and to pay attention to multiple sensory experiences at once, two more things that I fail at. Many people with AS can become successful drivers; I'm just not one of them. I may learn to drive one day, but I'm not worried about it.
"Not everything that steps out of line, and thus 'abnormal,' must necessarily be 'inferior.'"
-Hans Asperger

Last edited by GatsbyLuvr1920; 06-08-2008 at 06:49 AM.

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