Will he EVER pass the driver's test (sigh)?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by MidwestMom, Aug 27, 2010.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Well, in a quest to give L. as much independence as possible, we sent him to driving school and recently took him for his test. He does so well in school, but he does have typical Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) problems and he had a terrible time with the driver's test. He took it on computer, which he liked, but the computer only lets you miss eleven questions out of the fifty, then it shuts down your test. He was done by number twenty-nine. I really don't know how to get him to pass the test. That's a lot of abstract thinking and he isn't good at that. Any suggestions? I'm thinking of a tutor, but, frankly, don't have a lot of money.
  2. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    He is only 16. There are lots of neurotypical kids that aren't ready to drive and can't pass the test at that age. I would just give him more time, maybe try again in 6 months or a year. While driving does give independence, it also puts them in a situation where their reactions/choices have life or death consequences. To be honest, I wouldn't push this one so early.
  3. ML

    ML Guest

    I agree with JJJ. I'd just give him some time. Someone once said our kids are three years behind and I figure "at the end of the day" (a quote I'm so tired of hearing lol), when he's 40 and acts like he's still 37 hopefully no one will notice. I'm sorry for L's disappointment. Hugs.
  4. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I know quite a few NT kids who take 2-3 years to pass those tests. I am sorry he was disappointed, but am not sure it is fully related to his diagnosis's. They don't help, of course.

    Why not write practice questions for him on flashcards? You can use the driver's manual and make up 10 a week. Each week he studies those 10, reviews previous questions, and you drill him with the flashcards. Then he can learn the material gradually and not forget past lessons. Not sure how difficult school is, you might want to do this in the summer.

    It took my gfgbro (genius IQ, no common sense) 2 tries at the written test and at least 3 tries at the driving test. Then he let his license expire at about age 30-35 and it took more tries than that at each of the tests - after he had been driving for about 15 years!!!!! After the first driving test (in his 30's) he called me because he couldn't understand why the examiner made him stop the car in the middle of the street and get out to let the examiner drive back to the testing office -- before they were 4 blocks away!!!!! The following tests had to be scheduled when that examiner was not working because he refused to ride with him again. (Of course gfgbro's car had guardrail burn on both sides of it and clearly from more than one occasion - no cause for alarm there, right? :surprise: :crazydriver::faint:

    The benefit to writing questions for him and working with him is that it will remind YOU of the rules and make you a safer driver, as well as give N some exposure to the rules if she is around when you work on them. It won't hurt to include her in the quizzing if she is interested. I read a study years ago that said most drivers cannot pass a written test 10 years after they get their licenses. Having driven in Cincinnati (where straight roads are a sign of Satanism - I am just positive about that, lol!) around the month before/after the Indy 500 and during snow, I don't doubt that statistic!
  5. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    I think that driving (in real world conditions, rather than a computer simulation) provides so much sensory input that in some cases it can be overwhelming for some on the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) spectrum. In addition, the requirement to take in and evaluate a lot of complex information in a hurry, and to make quick decisions and a lot of transitions as unexpected situations come up, can be quite a lot to handle.

    My difficult child is nearly 21, and we haven't let him do more than study the driver's ed handbook in preparation for his written test. (In my province, there are graduated license, so after the learner's permit there are 2 full levels you need to pass before you are a fully licensed driver). My brother in law once let difficult child back his car out of the garage in order to park it on the driveway -- a distance of about 2 1/2 car lenghts. difficult child nearly wrecked the car AND the garage door AND the neighbour's lawn. This, despite the fact that he can perform all sorts of complex maneuvers and driving skills in computer games and simulators.

    He just can't handle it when it's a real car, in the real world.

    I think L might just need a bit more time, lots of exposure to the skills, and tons of practice.

    On a related note, Step-D who is neurotypical (although I think there's an undiagnosed something lurking in there), took 4 or 5 tries before she passed her driving test. And she was about 25 when she got her license. No reason to rush to get your license at 16 unless you truly feel ready for it and need to drive for some reason.

  6. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't worry about it. Miss KT passed the written test on her third try (after I told her I wasn't paying for the next round of three attempts), and had her permit nearly 10 months before I even let her test, and I only did that because I didn't think they'd pass her! What was the State of CA thinking????? :slap:

    And then, on her first day of driving to school, she hit the entrance gate in the school parking lot...but anyway...

    What does difficult child say about it? Does he want to drive?
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Thanks, all.
    L. wasn't all that disappointed...lol. He's kind of afraid to drive and I can see him driving only on the side streets for years. On the other hand, I do think he'd make a good driver. He is well coordinated and has good reflexes, in spite of being Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). And, trust me, he'd probably drive with Dad for two years before we let him actually get a a license ;) by the way, he turned 17 on Aug. 23. Happy birthday to L!!!
  8. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    L is about five months older than difficult child 3. Every kid is different, even the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids.

    In Australia, kids can get their Learner's Permit once they're 16 but cannot go for their licence until they're 17. They have to have all their driving hours logged and meet certain standards, including having driven over 120 hours with a supervising driver, before they go for the licence. ANd then the license they get is Provisional (passing through several grades) for the next three years.

    difficult child 1 has a lot of difficulty multi-tasking. He made a conscious choice, when all his classmates were getting their L's, to NOT learn to drive. At that time he felt he probably never would drive. Then soon after he turned 21, he decided to have a go. He learned well, had a few problems but got his licence and then bought himself a car. He had that car for over a year before he wrote it off driving through a red light (really bad weather, a lot of distraction). Luckily nobody was hurt. He got back behind the wheel and has not had another accident since.

    easy child got her L's as soon as she turned 16. difficult child 3 was about 5 years old at the time and hyperlexic. He got his hands on the Lerner Driver's handbook and memorised it (he'd already memorised the First Aid handbook from all the courses family members have had to take).
    Then recently, difficult child 3 has been playing Grand Theft Auto. You wouldn't think that would be good preparation for learning to drive, but with the driving wheel he bought as well, he's got really good with a lot of the timing, the skills etc of just moving a vehicle around. Plus his recall of the road rules from the handbook - of all the kids of ours, difficult child 3 seems to be learning the fastest.

    Problems we still have with him - he gets flustered easily, anxious easily and you just can't 'lose it' on the highway in peak hour. But he's actually managing. We gave him the first 10 hours in our village back roads, and that helped.Then the next ten hours were driving on the freeway between cities - easy.

    The thing is - difficult child 3 can multi-task. difficult child 1 is not good at that. But once he is more familiar with what he has to do, to the point of it becoming automatic, he can do OK.

    difficult child 1 chose to wait and for him it was a wise decision. easy child 2/difficult child 2 also chose to wait a couple more years, but not quite so long. She got her Ls when she was 18. Her problems are a bit of recklessness and she also can get flustered and anxious. But being able to multitask has been important.

    There is a Simpson's version of Grand Theft Auto which helped difficult child 3 a lot, too. I know it seems a crazy thing to suggest, for letting a prospective learner driver play, but I really think it helped the boys have practice in the sort of reflex work and multi-tasking you have to have on automatic, when you learn to drive for real.

    We let difficult child 1 choose when to have a go at driving. I like to think that in doing so, we made the world a safer place for just that little bit longer...

  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Marg, that was very helpful advice. I think I'll tell L. that he can drive when he wants to drive. Remember, the US has zilch in mass transit. There is nothing near where we live other than walking, biking or driving (and it snows half the year). Cabs can be sent for free to certain people though. I'll look into that since hub is the mechanic for the cab company anyway. I have made a decision to leave this up to him. Thank you!
  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I also hesitate to say this, but in L's case consider it - let him loose on the Simpson's Grand Theft Auto. Or if that is too much - Mario Kart. Get the wheel controller so he gets more of a feel. But difficult child 3 reckons that GTA is closest to how it really feels to drive, and learning ow to evade pursuit also teaches you how to NOT crash the car!

    Not the greatest - I think we need to invent our own computer game for teaching driving skills to kids like ours. I'm waiting for difficult child 3 to have the programming skills...

  11. Marg's Man

    Marg's Man Member

    We often drive a narrow winding road through the bush at night on our way to and from the mainland.

    I've told difficult child 3 to treat the lane with it's cats eye reflectors like a computer game where you lose points for hitting the reflectors. We even upped the ante by saying that he loses TWO points for hitting the orange reflectors on the right of the car (the ones marking the centre line) but only one for hitting the white ones on the left (the kerb edge). Oh yeah, he loses THREE points for hitting the red ones marking the edge of the other side of the road! That road is so narrow in parts that it's easier to lose three points than you would think.

    Marg's Man
  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Marg, I talked to L. and asked him if he wanted to drive. He said, and I quote, "Sure...I mean, if you want me to drive, I'll drive."

    I told him he didn't have to drive until/unless he was ready and he quickly said, "I'd rather wait."

    I told him to let me know when/if he wanted to drive. He clearly was just trying to please us.

    Thank you so much. You absolutely rock :)