At the moment I am learning to drive. I am 36 years old and have Asperger syndrome and a movement disorder and I never saw myself driving. The lessons are not without their challenges. I have a good driving instructor he seems to be a natural teacher with intuition and most of the time he knows when to push and when to diffuse the situation with humor. My driving instructor talks a lot which can be distracting but he assures me that this is a strategy – he says when he gets quiet I will know I am nearly ready for the test. I am finding the multitasking a real challenge and have to consciously think through things when I do them (but this is the way with all new learning). I have never been able to to respond to left or right as I am not programed for it!! I have to really think about it. I can feel my confidence slowly building and I have caught myself enjoying driving occasionally- but the urge to cut and run from the whole process is still there . It is the anxiety that is my biggest enemy – the hyper-vigilance has me jumping at normal events and second guessing my moves. The instructor says I have a ‘driving face’ which is a tense one. My skill levels are good – my fear is getting in the way. This is the story of my life – fear getting the way – complex and insidious. I am however determined to overcome that fear and experience the freedom of driving.
I can empathise with Daniel in this article by the ABC. The driving program that Daniel is involved in offers people like us a opportunity to learn that is tailored to our needs and it would be great if it could be replicated across the country.