Autism & Driving
LDUK driving instructors are experienced at teaching pupils on the autistic spectrum to drive. We have laid out some information below that will help you and your family decide if learning to drive will be for you. Please call Helen for more information.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
The diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) should not be a barrier to holding a licence. However, when a disabled person applies for a driving licence they are expected to declare their disability on their application.
Autism is a spectrum disorder, so it is impossible to say that people with autism either should or should not be allowed to drive. Some people with autism may find this skill extremely difficult to grasp, while others will be highly competent drivers.
The normal minimum age for driving is 17 but if you are getting Disability Living Allowance (DLA) higher rate mobility you can learn to drive at 16.
The rules that require you to disclose a diagnosis of an ASD and procedure for applying for a driving licence can be found on the DVLA website: http://www.dvla.gov.uk/medical.aspx for England, Scotland and Wales, and on http://www.nidirect.gov.uk for Northern Ireland.
The at-a-glance guide to the current medical standards of fitness to drive can be accessed at: http://www.dft.gov.uk/dvla//medical/aag. Standards relating to autism and Asperger syndrome can be accessed on page 34 of this guide.
In the case of autistic spectrum disorders, barriers to holding a licence might include a history of epilepsy, perceptual problems, difficulties with multi-tasking, poor motor control or dyspraxia and problems with sequencing. These should not be an absolute barrier to gaining a licence but you will need to be aware that they may present difficulties. Please see the 'Useful contacts' section on this page for details of where to get forms when applying for a licence.
The National Autistic Society on Driving
The fitness to drive medical rules regarding epilepsy are dependent on the time period since the last seizure and the type of the seizures experienced. Further information about changes in the regulations made in March 2013 can be found on the Epilepsy Society website at http://www.epilepsysociety.org.uk/AboutEpilepsy/Livingwithepilepsy/Drivingandtravel/Drivingandtransport Please speak to your GP or refer to the DVLA guide for more details: http://www.dft.gov.uk/dvla//medical/aag
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