Anonymous said to realsocialskills:
I want some information about people with autism and driving. Google helps me with NOTHING about info from actual autistic people, of whatever age and driving level, on their experiences. -.- as usual
I don’t drive, because thus far I have not figured out a way to do it safely. I have unreliable motor skills and weak spatial reasoning and poor executive function. These have all caused me trouble in my various attempts to learn to drive safely. I think I probably could learn to compensate for this kind of impairment with sufficient support, but I don’t want to learn driving through trial and error because error could involve crashing cars and killing people.
Have any of y’all who’re autistic or otherwise disabled learned to drive safely? How?
I know at least ten autistic people who can drive. Almost every one of them that I know of who posts on tumblr has been blocked by realsocialskills for not agreeing completely with their views on mental health issues. (I was going to say every one, but I saw a post from @xkrisxcross, who is apparently not blocked yet.)
I think that’s sort of an excellent summary of why this blocking thing is a huge problem for the utility of the blog. Seriously. I know autistics who drive well enough to have seriously considered pursuing long-distance trucking as a career. Realsocialskills doesn’t want to risk them responding, though.
Anyway, driving was hard for me and took a while to get good at, but honestly the ADHD has been a bigger problem than the autism. I did find it impossibly hard at first, what eventually happened was I aged and my brain developed a little further and things got better. So I think I started driving when I was maybe 23-24. I learned on a stick, which resulted in hilarious troubles when I first tried to learn an automatic.
Motor skills get better with practice and time. Practice at low speeds in a large empty parking lot or something. Executive function is honestly not used that much once you’re used to driving, usually it’s pretty straightforward, I think. Spatial reasoning, mostly a matter of leaving larger margins for error whenever possible. And then, just… Practice, practice, practice. My spouse was pretty distrustful of my driving for at least the first five years, but then we did a ~3k mile road trip and by the end of it he was pretty okay with my driving, it sorta finally got settled.
But yeah, tricky stuff. It’s hard to learn, and honestly I think it’s hard for non-autistics, they just don’t realize they’re having trouble. And I do commend you for being cautious about trial and error when errors can hurt people, because that is an attitude more people ought to have.