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jpr11011
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18 Mar 2012, 4:56 pm

I have undocumented (my parents decision that I support) Non-Verbal Learning Disorder (NVLD) which is extremely similar to Asperger's (so similar that some doctors diagnose people suspected of having NVLD with Asperger's because they require similar IEPs. But don't get me started on how I feel about that)

I am not sure if Aspies have this issue, but I know that I am terrible with spacial relations, distances, etc. I can barely read a map. Also, like all or nearly all people with NVLD, I also have ADD.

I am 17 but have put off getting a driving permit. I will be 18 soon, and I need to get one.

I am scared stiff about driving 8O I have already come very far with my NVLD, but I'm so worried about driving.

Any advice about driving with NVLD, or any other spectrum/spacial relations condition? Thanks :)



Catman
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18 Mar 2012, 5:05 pm

I'll just throw in my $0.02 that it's probably not a uniform thing amongst Aspies. I'm sure that there are both those who do have similar issues, and those who don't.

(I'm a professional driver, so that answers that question about me. But I feel for you, I truly do.)


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fleurdelily
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18 Mar 2012, 5:27 pm

(I had a commercial driver's license and drove long haul semi over the road for 4 years, clean record, also, I am 45 but got my regular license at 17 not 16, and the family did not teach me, would not get involved with that, etc)

I suggest, that you go to a large place such as a fairgrounds parking lot, or better yet, an industrial area on a Sunday, when it's closed.... and just drive around on your own terms, without anyone yelling at you or telling you which way to turn the wheel or anything like that which puts you under stress. *(side note, anyone not IN the vehicle who tells you which way to turn the wheel is ALWAYS wrong-- that is the wrong way to teach anyone, but so many people seem to want to do it that way, all it does is frustrate the driver)

When you are in your gigantic parking lot, observe the light poles, and the planters, any painted lines, drive around and around, then give yourself little tasks, like parking between the painted lines, along side the painted lines... pull up to the light pole, very carefully, until you think you're close enough. Put the car in "park" and get out, walk around it and look from outside the car--how close are you REALLY to the pole? do that in front and in back.

Remember one thing, that will get you through a lot of hassle-- backing is the most dangerous thing you can do. Backing up. Learn to use ALL those mirrors. In a big truck or regular car, backing is the trickiest. In a car, you can do the 'over the shoulder half-turn to look" manouver, but in a semi-truck you cannot look, you must rely on mirrors only. Which is a valid point because--the best way to know for sure is to get out and look! So, you look in your mirrors, use all the mirrors you have on the car, learn what each one is good for--and what each one is bad at, and how close things are for real by getting out to look once you've given it a try, until you learn for yourself where objects are in relation to your vehicle. This may sound like a lot to someone new, but it will serve you well in any vehicle you get into--even someday you may find yourself in a little box van, or a car that has no back windows, you'll still be able to use all your mirrors with confidence.

The most important thing for me, when I was learning (not just driving, but ANY subject) is to get a chance to try it, on my own terms, without anyone yelling at me, without anyone sitting beside me stressing out... just like learning a video game or whatever you want to mention--do it on your own terms, try to limit the potential for damage by having lots of room and lots of time, and don't have anyone else emoting stress to you. Just drive around and around a big lot, until you can relax a little. then stop. give it a few days, then do it again. But the best and ONLY way to know how close you are to a line or a pole or another car is to GET OUT and look. Then you'll know. Then you'll get confidence. :)

you'll do fine. I hope you have support from your family and not criticism :) and we all support you, of course


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jpr11011
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18 Mar 2012, 7:22 pm

fleurdelily wrote:
(I had a commercial driver's license and drove long haul semi over the road for 4 years, clean record, also, I am 45 but got my regular license at 17 not 16, and the family did not teach me, would not get involved with that, etc)

I suggest, that you go to a large place such as a fairgrounds parking lot, or better yet, an industrial area on a Sunday, when it's closed.... and just drive around on your own terms, without anyone yelling at you or telling you which way to turn the wheel or anything like that which puts you under stress. *(side note, anyone not IN the vehicle who tells you which way to turn the wheel is ALWAYS wrong-- that is the wrong way to teach anyone, but so many people seem to want to do it that way, all it does is frustrate the driver)

When you are in your gigantic parking lot, observe the light poles, and the planters, any painted lines, drive around and around, then give yourself little tasks, like parking between the painted lines, along side the painted lines... pull up to the light pole, very carefully, until you think you're close enough. Put the car in "park" and get out, walk around it and look from outside the car--how close are you REALLY to the pole? do that in front and in back.

Remember one thing, that will get you through a lot of hassle-- backing is the most dangerous thing you can do. Backing up. Learn to use ALL those mirrors. In a big truck or regular car, backing is the trickiest. In a car, you can do the 'over the shoulder half-turn to look" manouver, but in a semi-truck you cannot look, you must rely on mirrors only. Which is a valid point because--the best way to know for sure is to get out and look! So, you look in your mirrors, use all the mirrors you have on the car, learn what each one is good for--and what each one is bad at, and how close things are for real by getting out to look once you've given it a try, until you learn for yourself where objects are in relation to your vehicle. This may sound like a lot to someone new, but it will serve you well in any vehicle you get into--even someday you may find yourself in a little box van, or a car that has no back windows, you'll still be able to use all your mirrors with confidence.

The most important thing for me, when I was learning (not just driving, but ANY subject) is to get a chance to try it, on my own terms, without anyone yelling at me, without anyone sitting beside me stressing out... just like learning a video game or whatever you want to mention--do it on your own terms, try to limit the potential for damage by having lots of room and lots of time, and don't have anyone else emoting stress to you. Just drive around and around a big lot, until you can relax a little. then stop. give it a few days, then do it again. But the best and ONLY way to know how close you are to a line or a pole or another car is to GET OUT and look. Then you'll know. Then you'll get confidence. :)

you'll do fine. I hope you have support from your family and not criticism :) and we all support you, of course


Thank you so much for your kind words :)



Rhiannon0828
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18 Mar 2012, 9:18 pm

I don't have problems with spatial relationships (unless you want to count some proprioceptive issues) but I didn't drive until I was 32, mostly for financial reasons but partly because I wasn't sure I could do it. I learned by driving on a road that went around a large park. It was mostly deserted during the week, so there were very few other cars around. I found that it helped me to ask the person who was teaching me not to speak to me unless it was necessary, to stay calm even if I was not doing something correctly, and not to rush me into going faster or progressing to more advanced driving. It took a while for me to learn. But as I grew accustomed to the feel of the car, and gained confidence that I knew what I was doing, I relaxed and then I progressed much more quickly. I still have to concentrate on driving, but I can deal with some distractions like the radio and people talking to me as long as I am not in heavy traffic, or it is raining heavily. Then I really have to devote all my attention to driving. But I have never been in an accident where I was at fault. I guess I am telling you all this as a way of passing on a few hints and maybe some encouragement that you have a good shot at being able to drive. It's okay to be scared! Being scared makes you careful. Just don't allow it to paralyze you into not trying. The tips Fleurdelily gave were also very good.


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Catman
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18 Mar 2012, 9:29 pm

Awesome post, fleurdelily. Well-stated, and a lot of good points. I'm a terrible teacher, so glad somebody else was able to mention some of the things I should've. :D



Callista
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18 Mar 2012, 10:42 pm

There are special driving instructors for disabled people. They teach people how to use hand controls, for example. I had an instructor who had taught people with everything from paraplegia to Down syndrome, and all we did differently was to go slowly and learn lots of rules precisely about what to do, instead of just "getting a feel for it" like an NT seems to learn it best. I don't know if you would do well with an instructor like that, or if it would be fine just to get someone who could discuss with you how you learn best. A professional driving instructor is a good thing, though, because they have a brake on their side of the car so they can react if you make a mistake once you get out on the road, or stop you from running onto a curb and scratching the car.

One thing I would recommend to you is to get a bicycle and start using it for transportation regularly. While that doesn't help you learn to drive a car, it does help you get a feel for speed, distance, and navigation, and a little bit about the rules of the road. The big difference with a car will be that you'll have a large vehicle to think about, instead of just a bicycle; the car extends far past your body, so you have to keep in mind where the car is.

Try different things. See what works for you. Try things in a big parking lot first, and try them with rubber traffic cones before concrete bumpers. That way when you make mistakes it won't be dangerous.

It might turn out that you'll hate driving--I do, even though I can do it. Nowadays, I have my license if I need it, but it's just so much easier to just walk somewhere, or ride my bike, or if it's a really long distance, use the bus system. You don't have to drive to be independent.


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fleurdelily
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18 Mar 2012, 10:46 pm

thanks catman. I just remembered the things that helped me, that's all. In truck driving school, me and the other gal finally just told the instructor to just stop talking! LOL. OK! we GET it, we heard the lecture, we read the chapter, but now we just need to be left alone behind the wheel to work it out for ourself and he was smart enough to do that, and we both passed the course :)

So, I am sure you can find some things that you remember from when you learned, Catman... what helped you most?

The only other thing I remember--which is no help at all, but a good laugh once the test is over--is how much what is written in the book, and the things you have to put on the test hardly resemble ACTUAL REALITY at all LOL.... but for now, just memorize the booklet, so you can answer the test questions. Only experience will reveal how little some of those answers have to do with real life :D ----alot like high school, now that I think about it HEE HEE :lol:


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1000Knives
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19 Mar 2012, 12:51 am

I have NVLD and drive. I got my permit at 17, actually due to my parents putting it off mostly. License I got like....a month before turning 19?

Anyway, I find driving is a double edged sword for me. On one hand, I actually love cars as machines, and love driving by myself, on say, a nice backroad or something with nobody on it, it's one of the most relaxing things in the world. I also like driving a manual transmission, too. But on the other hand, few things stress me out more than day to day driving, especially going to unknown places on time constraints, and in traffic.

A few strategies I use (I drive a lot:)

Buy a GPS or if you got a smartphone, use the one on your smartphone. Sorta a double edged sword, as multitasking is pretty much impossible for me whilst driving, I've been licensed over 2 years, driving for over 3, and I still can barely like, change songs on an mp3 player while driving. But, you need a GPS, no way around it. The way it works for me is, I'll have to memorize a route before I can go on it, if I can't memorize the route by driving it a few times, need GPS. As far as reading maps, that's not that hard, hardest part with just using a map alone is knowing where YOU are in relation to other stuff. I did the worst NVLD driving mistake ever, I took a delivery job in a city I didn't know my way around at all, without a GPS. I was screwed. But, so many times, I got lost, I had to taxi my sisters around for example, I'd get lost for like an hour sometimes for things that should have taken 20 minutes. GPS, GPS, GPS, gotta have a GPS, and multitasking is hard. Gist of that.

Try to avoid passengers. Like, it might be OK to have one friend with you in the car, but I get sensory overloaded with like 3-4 passengers all talking in the car at once, or just them being in the car judging me. Either way, VERY hard for me to drive with multiple people in the car. One thing that can stress you out a lot is friends guiding you places, ugh. But uh, yeah, basically, you'll probably not be able to have the stereotypical teenage driving experience of carting around all your friends everywhere.

Driving routes is a tough one. I personally hate, first off, merging onto the highway. That's hard, you gotta speed up, judge distances on all 4 corners of the car, it's just hard to merge onto the highway. So avoid the highway for short trips, but longer trips on a time constraint, obviously you're gonna have to use it, but like, you may not wanna use the highway for a trip that's like 20 minutes without the highway and 1-2 exits away kinda thing. Another weird thing I do, I'll plan routes based more entirely upon traffic. For example, for the same location in the same town, my friend takes the main road that's geographically shorter to get to, but it's a 2 lanes on each side road, with a dozen or so lights on the 3 mile stretch, so me, I go around on a side road, and it's got about 3 lights, and almost no traffic or traffic jams or anything whatsoever. My friend said it's 2 different ways of looking at things, he's seeing geographical shortness, thus equalling the least time, I see no variables, and to me it's the shortest time as I know it'll always have no traffic or lights, so I see it as better for that reason, and faster. So yeah, basically, you'll probably plan routes weirdly like that, too.

Parking. Just park in the easiest spots. Don't fight over the closest space at Walmart or something. Try to drive into a space, ie, find 2 spaces, front and back spaces, and drive into the back space and into the front space, so you can drive out of the front space, no need to back up if you do that. For me, I'd much rather walk another hundred feet than spend more time parking.

Lastly, if you're feeling stressed while driving and need to focus more, for me, I tend to take energy drinks if I know I'm gonna be doing some stressful driving (highway driving at rush hour for example) so you might want to keep some kind of thing like that in the car with you just in case.

Oh, with taking things literally, speed limits are really tricky. Most real life driving here, 35=45, but a cop can still give you a ticket for going the normal 45 on a 35, so it's tough even if you're normal, I guess most normal people are better at ignoring such things in their mind, but yeah. It's weird too, as speeding can be somewhat safer, as some people tailgate you at lower speeds, then will pass over the double yellow like idiots when you're going like 5 over the speed limit. I got passed on a 2 lanes per side double yellow road, to be fair I was in the left (technically not supposed to travel in the left lane, but I had a left turn ahead about 1/2 mile away), but the right was free, I was going 8-10mph over the speed limit even, this guy was still tailgating me, he passes me over the double yellow when I was going 10 over, and almost kills himself. Nice job. Anyway, main point of that, driving rules, you're gonna be tempted to be really literal and strict with them, try to be as safe as possible (don't get lazy with the turn signals especially) but you'll probably break the rules of driving a few dozen times everytime you go out, just because it works like that.

Other than that, practice, try hard at it, all that fun stuff. If I think of more stuff, I'll post it. Good luck.



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19 Mar 2012, 4:13 am

For one reason or another, I have spacial relation skills that leave a lot to be desired. I took driver's ed as a teenager and it was pretty traumatic. I never have learned to drive and I don't intend to get behind a wheel and put my life in my clumsy hands again. I don't mean to sound discouraging. Despite my lack of driving I am managing to survive; in a few months I'm moving to a city with better public transportation (with free bus rides for students). Depending on where you live, not being able to drive can complicate things but even if it doesn't work out you can still get by. I used to think that I'd never survive without learning to drive yet now in my mid 20s I don't even think about it anymore.



lostmyself
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19 Mar 2012, 4:32 am

I just had to practice extra hard. I am very scared of crowded roads. It took me a long time to learn to drive in traffic. I learnt to drive on empty streets very fast. I have anxiety issues and ADHD.



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19 Mar 2012, 7:09 am

I have AS/NVLD, and I know I'll never drive. My visual-spatial deficits are too severe, and my OCD fears about hurting somebody or breaking a law are also too severe. I tried driving once. I never left the parking lot. Not being able to drive can be an inconvenience, but I don't let it hold me back. My biggest advice to you would be to familiarize yourself with public transportation. I am able to hold down a job downtown due to riding the bus.


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19 Mar 2012, 7:57 am

I am terrible with spacial relations, distances, etc.
i have nld and my spacial skills are one of the things i don't think i will ever get right.
so i can tell you for sure that w/ driving it's not going to effect you much(though i couldn't wait to drive as i watched and taught myself when other people drove) yes distances will be effected, but your trying not to hit things so if anything you will be farther rather than too close.
fleurdelily
has the right idea, your fear of driving will get you into more trouble than nld ever will. so practice and confadence will take you the rest of the way.


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Ynnep
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19 Mar 2012, 3:01 pm

Learn if you can while you are young. But take solace in the fact that if you just can't do it (like me) you'll still be fine. I'm over 40 and I have always had a job, done banking, gotten groceries and all the basic life necessities without ever driving. I own my own home, my own business and have always been 100% independant, so not driving won't hold you back. I am diagnosed with AS, NVLD and ADHD.



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19 Mar 2012, 3:50 pm

I have NVLD and I consider myself to be a pretty good driver. The younger you start (I started when I was 17) the better. I also think it would be a good idea if you could practice in an industrial area on a Sunday. I had an excellent driving instructor who was very understanding and always put me at ease. This is essential imo.


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RaspberryFrosty
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12 Jan 2013, 2:32 pm

I know this is a few months too late but I'm 23 and I have no idea how to drive and I also have NVLD. Learning the basics right now is important to me before I actually have a driver's license and my main issue is the fear of crashing the car because I'm not paying attention to the road although I've been told that if you're behind the wheel your attention will be focused on the road in front of you.