Teaching Autistic Teen to Drive

I have a 16.8 year old son who has autism. I’m a nervous type, so I seldom take him out to teach him to drive. His father has been teaching him, but that’s not the best since he has Asperger’s Syndrome. The two of them have a lot of the same issues in driving. The biggest problem is an inability to focus on more than one thing at a time. After my husband had been teaching our son for less than 3 months, they were in a minor accident that seems like my husband should have been able to prevent it.

I seldom let my husband drive if I’m in the car. He carpools to work and is usually not permitted to drive because of his erratic behavior. I’d like for our son to have the independence driving provides. We’re not close enough to public transportation (2 1/2 miles uphill both ways ;-)).

I’ve begged everyone I can to help teach my son. My mom has taken him out several times.

Does anyone have any input on driving and autistics? I’m not sure where to go. I don’t know if my son is even capable of becoming a reasonably safe driver. We have another son with Asperger’s Syndrome, but I’m not concerned about him. He doesn’t withdraw into his own head so much. Regional Center has told me that they have no supports to teach him to drive.

We hear you I am just not sure how to help. What comes to mind is somehow getting a firm apprasial on is what you want to achieve possible. I conclude your son was able to pass the written test for his learners permit? Private driving school is not a option? We can certainly comment on the type of car he is trying to learn in.

As a retired educator, the only thing I could suggest is to contact a support group that could answer your questions. The only thing that I could think to ask them, is whether an evaluation might be done to help you make a decision. I wouldn’t attempt it w/o professional opinion and guidance. Your state should have professional services on their web site you can contact to help direct you and give you contacts.

It seems to me you need to talk to a professional and someone with similar experiences. My web search turned up this:



Look for autistic specific help as advised here. This isn’t gonna be quick and easy. One activity at a time, over and over. ( out the driveway, down the street around to the WalGreens and back home. ) Then move to a different skill. slowly, patiently targeting his individual learnig style. Different people learn in different manners ( ie; spoken word, written list, demostration ), find your son’s learning forte’ for other tasks and utilise that for driving.

aside; For my wife to read from a paper of instructions, she’s lost and confused. If I take the same paper and read it to tell her what to do, she gets it down .

Thought of something else in the teaching -vs- learning idea.
same activity, same student, teacher #1 gets C work from student but teacher #2 gets B+ results.

If your son has a favorite teacher in school, one who gets positive results and he likes to learn from, no matter the subject at school.
As serious a subject as driving is…ask THAT teacher to assist in learning to drive. ( offer to pay them , of course )

I’ve been googling all kinds of things. When I google ‘driving instructor’, I get a bunch of traffic schools. I’ve tried different wording. The closest I’ve gotten is an instructor who helps people with physical needs.

Regional Center is the group that is supposed to help with my son’s special needs. Unfortunately, the case worker has told me that they simply don’t have any programs or advice. He told me that we’re not the first to ask for this kind of help, but nothing has changed. Even if they can’t help him themselves, I sure wish they could have some information and resources, but they don’t.

The DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) is also singularly unhelpful. Not only is their site annoying difficult to navigate, they don’t have any useful information. My son passed the written test last time. His biggest problem was with questions regarding alcohol. I’ve got another practice test for him. I hope that will be enough. He needs to get a learner’s permit again.

Driving instructors don’t make great salaries, and you need very specific help. I doubt seriously that you will find an instructor that deals with special needs drivers. A better bet is to go through a support group or medical professional.