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    #247795 - 12/02/20 05:24 AM Driving with Processing Issues?
    Pemberley Offline

    Registered: 08/07/11
    Posts: 738
    My DD will be 16 in a few weeks and is eligible for a Learnerís Permit. She has been in sensory OT the last few months and Iíve seen an improvement in getting overwhelmed by too much sensory input which is great. Sheís always been concerned about whether her slow processing speed might impact her as a driver, though.

    The other day a friend told me about an autism specific driverís education program that involves an OT evaluation and work with ďa driving rehab specialistĒ to look at how any deficits might affect judgement and reaction time in driving situations. Apparently the testing involves things like reaction time, peripheral vision, balance, strength, color recognition, etc. The rehab specialist then works on compensation strategies.

    DD is NOT on the spectrum but has much crossover concerns (most notably sensory issues and slow processing speed) so I never know if these sort of programs are appropriate for her.

    Anyone have a kid with processing issues get their driverís license? Any special driverís training utilized? Does this sound like something worth pursuing? Itís a few hundred dollars but I would consider it money well spent if it keeps her - and others - safer in the road. She is incredibly safety conscious but, of course, has no control over neurological deficits that cause problems...

    Any and all input appreciated. TIA

    #247796 - 12/02/20 09:31 AM Re: Driving with Processing Issues? [Re: Pemberley]
    spaghetti Offline

    Registered: 05/05/15
    Posts: 446
    Mine has very slow processing. I was concerned about learning to drive in our unforgiving congested area. The best I can say is if you are a caffeine user, you'll want to wean yourself off.

    Our laws require drivers ed hours and learners permit hours. So we had a local driver training company provide the 6 required drivers ed hours. Mine doesn't just have processing issues, but also spatial dysgraphia. We used paper plates to learn where the car was-- had to drive over the paper plate, etc.

    After he learned where the car was, it was time for drivers ed. They took him on the road and said he was OK, just give it time. I was surprised, but they were right.

    I will say it was not easy for me or my husband. I overcoached-- pointing out things in the environment. There's a car ahead with brakelights on, we're coming to a busy intersection, please stay in the lane, try to get your speed up, there's a red light ahead take your foot off the gas. That sort of thing

    Then my husband tried to wean from coaching and plenty of times said "stop, there's a light, STOP!"

    But it worked out and he's a good, if not too slow, a driver now. I'm ok driving with him. He's had a lot of long distance trips and unpaved roads to help him learn where the car is. That's what took the longest.

    So, what I'd do is give it a try with a "typical" company, and if that doesn't work, get the assessment.

    I had another teenager learn to drive about 6 months behind him and OMG the difference. Much faster and easier and no need to avoid caffeine.

    Do have her do some video games that require awareness of the environment and quick response.

    #247797 - 12/02/20 04:42 PM Re: Driving with Processing Issues? [Re: Pemberley]
    aeh Offline

    Registered: 04/26/14
    Posts: 3713
    I had similar levels of apprehension (although for different reasons) about my sub-clinical ADHD-ish oldest, and the best advice I received was to start with the regular driver's ed course, and then look for an advanced course in your area (I think AAA and Ford both run these), where they coach them through some extra emergency skills. And it's usually held on a track, which some young people find to be a fun novelty. Our core driver's ed school also wouldn't let them (well, would strongly advise against) take the road test until the instructors were satisfied with their safety. DC turned out to be a much better driver than we anticipated (although we did have to deal with a very low speed (parking lot) accident within a few months of obtaining the driver's license--but that's not out of the range for youthful drivers).

    And if you do want to look for a specialist driver's educator:
    ...pronounced like the long vowel and first letter of the alphabet...

    #247798 - 12/02/20 06:24 PM Re: Driving with Processing Issues? [Re: Pemberley]
    MumOfThree Offline

    Registered: 04/07/11
    Posts: 1654
    Loc: Australia
    My only learner driver has ASD, the biggest issue we have had is with extreme return of literalness in interpreting instructions. Especially at the start. Example:

    Sitting at a two lane round about for the first time I thought to explain how to choose the right time to go... all the different things to be aware of. But did not realise I needed to say "STAY IN YOUR LANE" until I was screaming it... Because we were going straight through the round about I had mentioned something like "We are going straight through", they literally went straight through, crossing into the inner lane without checking.

    We did a lot of parent lessons and supervised driving first, and then our first typical driving instructor was a terrible fit, but the second seemed quite good. Sadly covid paused all that for the last 8 months.

    Being patient and having many hours of supervised practice is invaluable.

    Edited by MumOfThree (12/02/20 06:41 PM)


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