Please someone help me with this?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Maura1, May 11, 2009.

  1. Maura1

    Maura1 New Member

    I have an 18 year old daughter who has NonVerbal Learning Disorder (NVLD). She has been trying to learn to drive for 2 years now. She has not been able to accomplish this. She is scared and her NonVerbal Learning Disorder (NVLD) is really getting in her way. We live in Northern California. Does anyone know of a specialist out here to help her with NonVerbal Learning Disorder (NVLD) and dealing with how to drive and make her live easier????? I cannot find anyone who knows this type of learning dissability and how to teach someone that has it.

    Thank you...:sad-very:
  2. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Hi Maura and welcome. I'm going to move this thread to our General forum as it is difficult child-related, please look for responses there. Also, to our members... please PM any info on professionals.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there. I don't live in California. Kind of the opposite--Wisconsin :D, but I've lived with a NonVerbal Learning Disorder (NVLD) all my life. Except for the social skills part (and I never was that great at reading faces either), I can tell you that it can be impairing. For me, it is severe--IQ is 120 verbal and 85 performance so I sound very bright, but can't learn to perform simple tasks without extreme help and repetition. And I recommend that your daughter do what I did--REPETITION. She may need three driving courses and extra time with you and dad in the car before she can get the hang of driving. It took me forever to learn to drive safely. Once I did learn, I really did well--I had one accident at 18 (I still hadn't gotten the hang of it and tended to space out on the road), but no accidents since then. There ARE a lot of dings on all my cars--she may not have a good sense of perception (where she's at) and may hit things. I have a spatial oreintation problem too and dings on the cars are just part of who I am.

    I don't think a special instructor can help her. I think it's just a lot of repetition until her brains adjusts and she can do it. She CAN learn. But don't put her out there until you are sure she is safe. In my one accident, it was serious. I was lucky nobody was killed. And it was my fault. I was sort of snoozing at the wheel. I made a left hand turn as soon as the light turned green and didn't yield to the other cars. PLEASE make sure she gets tons of practice and be patient. She doesn't need to learn to drive before she can do it. My Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) son is also going to go very slow with getting his license. Frankly, a non-verbal learning disability has a LOT in common with Aspergers. Just go easy with her--don't get frustrated. There is no rush, even if she thinks there is :D. I'll be happy to "talk" to her about it if you PM me.
  4. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Welcome, Maura.

    I live even furter away so I can't help you with tutors in your area, but I do have some ideas which may help.

    1) If possible, encourage her to wait a while longer, until she builds up her exective functioning skills. In Australia, we don't learn to drive until we're 16 years old (minimum). difficult child 1 knew he would be a danger on the roads and so chose to wait a few more years, he didn't get his Learners Permit until he was 23 years old. He got his licence a year later at 24, bought a car which he drove for a year until he wrote it off in wet weather and was unfortunately uninsured (he hadn't realised). He had been driving for a year before he had the accident, which is a sign that he definitely had improved due to the delay.

    2) What made difficult child 1 more able to learn to drive, was honing his skills and reflexes in computer games. We were also able to get our mitts on computer games which are designed to rehearse driving skills directly, as well as road rules etc. A great DVD ROM that was brought out by NRMA, one of our Aussie road service companies plus inruance company, teachers young drivers how to assess various driving scenarios (including aftermath of accidents). it very definitely teaches executive function, drills it well.

    3) difficult child 3 has recently been given a "prescription" for computer games that build exectuvie function. Wii Big Brain Academy and Nintendo DS Brain Training are good ones for any age (I play them too, both to keep my own brain functioning, and also to 'compete' with difficult child 3 and give him someone to try to beat). We were also told to play Zoombini games where we can find them. That sort of thing.

    Watching my kids play computer games, I watch their fingers fly and imagine their brains coordinating all the steps, the click here, a flick there. Driving can be like that - when we're first learning, we panic at the thought of driving in a straight line, having to slow for a corner, flip on the indicator, use the brake properly and (heaven forbid if we're driving a manual) having to slip the clutch, change gear, manage hill starts etc. But a kid who is skilled and well-practised in a computer game, is a lot like an experienced, confident driver.

    For a kid with learning problems, learning to drive can be done but it takes much more practice, much more drill and slow, careful steps. You COULD pay a fortune for a personal coach with special expertise in NonVerbal Learning Disorder (NVLD), or you could (while you wait to find the right tutor) try to find lateral-thinking approaches that will eventually help your daughter boost her overall skills and hopefully help her work closer to her (and your) goals in this area.

    Despite his car accident, my son is back behind the wheel (of his wife's car) and does all the driving when they're together. She doesn't have NonVerbal Learning Disorder (NVLD) in any form but still feels safe when he drives. That's a good endorsement.

    When it's difficult child 3's turn, I have fewer concerns. he CAN multi-task (unlike difficult child 1) and has had the road rules memorised for the last nine years (since easy child first brought home her Learner's Permit and the accompanying book of road rules). In a year's time he will be eligible for his own Learner's Permit. I will probably make him wait another year or more because he DOES get flustered and stressed, but then again... I might allow him to give it a go right away.

    It really does depend on the child himself, and how well he is able to function, as well as how much help we can give him to learn the skills sufficiently, to be as safe as possible for others as well as himself.

  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Marg, still got that computer game by chance? Billy could sure use it! He still hasnt learned to drive and we dont have any instructors near by and he scares me to death so I cant do it myself.
  6. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Hello Maura,

    I agree with the others in advising not to push your difficult child until she's ready, and that the computer games can help her to develop executive function and driving skills. If she has the patience, and she's willing to go through the exercises and repetition, there's no reason that she can't be successful. I agree with MWM that the key is enough time and practice to gain the required skills.

    In the case of my difficult child, he has decided that he doesn't want to start learning to drive until he's 27 years old. It's a fairly arbitrary number that he plucked out of the air, but honestly, the longer he waits the better I feel about the whole thing.

    Honestly, I'm hoping that by the time he turns 27, he'll have decided he doesn't want to drive at all.

  7. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Interestingly I just received the "new" neuro-psychiatric examination done on difficult child who is Aspergers, ADHD and experts says "it is strongly recommended that difficult child not be en attempt obtaining a drivers license for many years to come". It goes on to say that the combination of anxiety and lack of focus capability makes driving a skill that is not appropriate for him at this time.

    Where we live there are NO transportation means other than an auto and as a result it means we must transport him everywhere. Truthfully I think we were so eager for him to drive that we rather forgot he likely would be a danger to himself or others. Time will tell. DDD
  8. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Janet, I'd love to send you that computer game, but there are two BIG problems:

    1) It was quite some time ago, so the game may not be compatible with current operating systems; and

    2) It was written for Australian (NSW) rules and regulations, which are RIGHT hand drive. We drive on the left side of the road and I think it would be just too confusing, it would only make things worse.


    However, there may be some groups in the US or even in your state, who have written (or even adapted) similar software. Possibly the first port of call could be the road service companies, see if they have any such services (which would surely reduce the demands on their services and hence keep premiums down?) and then maybe state boards which you have to deal with, to provide the licences. If you talk to these people, mention that we had these available in NSW, Australia and that a REALLY good package was made by NRMA. With that info, they may be able to follow through without having to reinvent the wheel.

  9. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    The big priority with driving is safety. I took difficult child to a rehab hospital that teaches brain injured or stroke patients to drive if they are able to pass some testing. It was very comprehensive. They told me difficult child had the ability but it would take a long time of practice, practice, practice. It took well over a year for difficult child to be street ready.
    If your daughter is has the abilities to be safe there are ways to teach her. If she is not able to be safe, let it go.
  10. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Miss KT had her permit for nearly a year before I let her test for her license. I felt it was important she have the formal training, though I know a lot of it was BS, so I could monitor her practicing. Something that helped with her concentration was having the radio on. It drove me insane riding with her, but she did better when things weren't quiet.

    Also, with Miss KT, driving the truck (77 Silverado) made her more comfortable, because she knew it was big and solid. Is your daughter nervous about driving on surface streets, or is she attempting the freeway? I lived in Fremont for several years and commuted to Cupertino, and I can't even imagine where Miss KT would have learned to drive if we were still up there. All I can suggest is practice in a quiet, low-traffic, non-threatening area...maybe Modesto?

    Welcome to the board!
  11. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I don't know what your standards are in your area, but for us - our learners MUST log up 100 hours' driving (with a fully licenced driver sitting in the front beside them) before they're permitted to do their driving test. They have to always have a log book available and their driving teacher (or parent) signs off on the hours driven as well as any skills practiced and especially, attained. Such as "4 May 2008 - completed three point turn to standard."

    With our kids we did our best to ensure they drove in a wide range of conditions, city traffic as well as quiet country roads (including the classic Aussie corrugated iron-feel roads). In the wet, in the dry. We also can access advanced driving courses (even for those still on Learners Permits). We also have increasingly strict laws that apply to inexperienced yong drivers, including curfew as well as passenger limit (based on age of driver as well as age of passengers).

    making sure they get a lot of supervised practice is great. We would also drive to a deserted parking area and set up traffic cones or large plastic rubbish bins, then get them to practice reverse parking, angle parking, three point turns, hill starts - whatever we could. Make 'em sweat.

    Also our current laws - the kids have to do their test in a manual car unless they are prepared to have teir license endorsed "automatic only".

    So a suggestion - find the most draconian, cautious regulations in the world and apply them to your child. Run it carefully, get them to comply, explain the need to develop executive function skills especially in terms of driving, because this is an adult responsibility as well as privilege; nobody should get behind the wheel of a car without accepting the responsibility for the lives of everybody out on those roads.