Autism Acceptance Month Day #19 – Autism and Driving

Today, I am going to revisit the topic of Autism and Driving. While it is a proud achievement of mine, I still have some concerns about driving in the future.

While for some autism and driving are a good fit, oftentimes there are several individials that indeed struggle at the task, especially at Intercity driving, highway driving, etc. Likewise caregivers express concerns of individuals driving for fear of anxiety and meltdowns, etc. To get an caregivers perspective, I have included a video of another individual on the spectrum as their caregiver expresses her concerns on her Facebook page.

Sooooooo…. this driving thing…..
Chevy is an excellent technical driver.
Chevy has NO FEAR, and NO NERVES about being a new driver.
Chevy, if anything, is over-confident when it comes to driving ( note the one hand on wheel, as if he’s been doing it his whole life…)

Yet….

Chevy still only has his Learner’s, and I think I’m to blame.

As parents we don’t want to hold our kids back from reaching goals that others their age already have.

But I am scared, damn it. I mean really scared.

There are issues too long to list here, but my number one worry is his need for stimulation, and his sensory seeking. I’ve been in the car with him when he’s suddenly got the urge to put the pedal to the metal, just for the thrill. And it’s different that any typical young person with a ‘need for speed’…. it’s a ‘no rules apply in this moment but my own’.

He IS an excellent driver.
He IS abiding of MOST road rules ( probably more than the average person )
He IS wanting to get his full license.

But I’m not.
I’m not ready.

I struggle with this almost daily…. IS this me being over protective…? IS this me being a Nervous Nelly? Orrrrrrrr, is my son on the autism spectrum, and with that, comes the ever-present unpredictability factor that means anything could happen at any time……

I know I have to take him to get his lisence. Just look at how freakin happy he is in this video.

Sigh…I want to retract my earlier statement of being scared.
I’m terrified.
I’m terrified of him getting his lisence.
I’m terrified of him NOT getting his lisence.

And therein lies the conflict in every ASD parent’s mind, every minute of every day.

We are scared of what they can’t do, and we are scared of what they CAN.

In my opinion, I feel that she does have valid concerns as do my parents. However it is a decision I have to make and it is difficult for me right now and I have struggled with it at times to times I have had some heated conversations with my mother. Nonetheless, I do see her concerns and I know I have them too. Likewise due to financial constraints, I feel like getting a car at this time is not a viable option for me right now.

I too have to realize that in the last nine and a half months I have made alot of changes my life that have in addition to having a driver’s license, but also moving into my new place among other things. While I am putting driving on the back burner for now, I am choosing to take care of myself this year.

Some think that not wanting to drive is not my choice, in fact it is my choice to NOT drive. This decision while partially based from a financial standpoint, also takes into play my symptoms of my mental health such as anxiety. I think by me moving on my own has provided better access to public transportation as well as the central areas of my town. Additionally there are ample opportunities for recreation among other things. So I am satisfied at the present time.

A side note is that anxiety runs my family, in fact some members of my family have/had driver’s licenses, however were/are too anxious to Operate a vehicle under standard driving conditions. With that being said I am unsure of what the future entails, but for right now I am happy with what I have.

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