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DRIVER EDUCATION FOR CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS

Getting a driver’s license is the first step to independence for many teenagers, which is why we pride ourselves on providing the environment and instruction that allow all our students to become safe and confident drivers. According to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute, “Adolescents with autism spectrum disorder or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder may have characteristics that place them at risk for unsafe driving behavior. On the other hand, they may also have characteristics that promote safer driving behavior.” Even with a disadvantage, the number of adolescents driving with special needs is growing.

We recognize that every special needs student is different. While some will fit into our standardized programs, others will need more specialized training. This is why our special needs program is customized around the student.




DRIVER EDUCATION FOR CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS

Can children with special needs drive? Yes, and the number of adolescents driving with special needs is growing. According to research conducted at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia  (CHOP), two-thirds of 15- to 18-year-olds with a higher-functioning autism spectrum disorder (HFASD) are currently driving or plan to drive, and 1 in 3 adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) without an intellectual disability get licensed by age 21.

Getting licensed and driving with special needs may be viewed by teens as an exciting milestone in their transition to adulthood, but parents may approach this time with fear as well. Many services received as children are no longer available, and the thought of driving may be overwhelming.


DRIVING WITH SPECIAL NEEDS

Adolescents with autism spectrum disorder  or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder may have characteristics that place them at risk for unsafe driving behaviors, like inattention or getting lost in the details of the road. On the other hand, they may also have characteristics that promote safer driving behavior, such as a vigilance to follow driving laws.

Experts at CHOP recommend that families answer the following questions before their child with special needs starts driver education:

  • Do you feel your child consistently demonstrates good judgment and maturity at school, around peers, and at home?
  • Is your child receptive to constructive criticism and instruction?
  • Does your child demonstrate rules of the road knowledge and other skills taught in driver education classes? If not, does your child need specialized instruction or a driving assessment?
  • Is your child agreeable to practicing driving with a skilled adult prior to driving independently? If so, is there an adult willing and able to serve in this important role?
  • Are there any medical or behavioral conditions (such as untreated seizures) that may prevent your child from driving safely?
  • Are there medical interventions that may be needed to ensure safe driving behaviors?

If your child is ready to begin driver ed and supervised practice, CHOP experts recommend that families:

  • Add goals about driving to the child’s  individualized education plan (IEP)
  • Seek the advice of a certified driving rehabilitation specialist or occupational therapist who specializes in driving
  • Consider treatment with ADHD medication if the child has symptoms of ADHD, including impulsivity and inattention

For those teens with special needs who are not ready or able to drive, there are other ways to ensure safe transportation including practicing how to take public transit and using taxis or ridesharing services. Another option is carpooling with classmates or coworkers who drive.

Learn more about driving with ADHD.

Learn more about driving with ASD.

Other helpful information about driver education for children with special needs is found on these websites:

Customized Lesson Plan (Call for pricing)

Our special needs lesson plans are customized around our student. Please call and speak to one of our specialists to create a program best suited for you or your child’s needs.

Every program will include:

  • 1-on-1 instruction
  • Customized simulator training
  • Private behind-the-wheel driving lessons

We provide the most comprehensive and complete driver
training programs in the country!

Our Customers Say…

Aminah A., Ponte Vedra

My assigned driving instructor, Derra, was amazing!! Taught we everything I needed to know, was very friendly and straight-to-the-point. This service is very effective and worth every penny! The man who runs this program, Dave, is super kind an really looks out for your best interest when driving. When I took the test I was confident and ready because of my prior knowledge and experience with this driving institute. I passed my first time around! This course will prepare you for the license test, as well as, becoming a defensive driver with great driving habits. Thank you Derra!!

Kelli M., Jacksonville

Larry Wagner was my son’s instructor. My son is on the Autism spectrum and Larry was fantastic with him. He gave him the tools he needed to be confident enough to drive. We were worried he would never want to learn. With the excellent instruction he received he was able to pass his road test the first try! Zach was so proud of himself and that was worth it all. Thank you All Florida Safety Institute for being another piece of the puzzle towards my son’s independence.

Riley F., Fleming Island

Great experience! I was newly licensed before taking the course and Brent (my instructor) improved my driving greatly. I took the 24 hour course and would recommend as many people as possible to take this course! Brent taught me tricks for parking, driving in the rain, and smoothed out my turns. Brent was very funny and driving with him was very enjoyable!

Jennifer C., Ocala

I purchased the 12 hours of Instruction for my son who already had his drivers license because I was still not 100% comfortable with him on the road by himself and it was the Best decision I ever made. He started his lessons within days of me calling and his driving improved immensely. We had Brent as our Driver and he was AWESOME!!!

Marta B., St. Petersburg

My son has autism and Mr. George Trimm was so successful teaching him to drive! My son got his license yesterday and I can not tell you how proud he is! George has experience with special needs young adults and was able to keep my son calm and able to learn. Being able to drive is such an important part of being able to live independently: I owe George for helping him take a big step closer to being independent! George is patient, very clear in his instructions and so very understanding. I passed his name onto the school system. I hope more families will take advantage of George’s expertise in teaching people with special needs to drive. Thank you to All Florida Safety Institute and George!