Monday, July 11, 2016

Will My Son With Autism Ever Drive?










Tommy is 14. He has Autism.


Next year, when he's 15, he can get his learner's permit. But I wonder if he will. Sometimes I even wonder if he'll ever drive. Period.

It's mainly because he tends to meltdown if he gets overwhelmed. And sometimes driving can be overwhelming. What will happen if someone cuts him off? Suppose someone hits his car? Will he know how to respond? Or will he burst into tears and allow the person to drive off? Suppose he hits someone? I know he'll completely go into meltdown mode if someone screams at him. He doesn't like it when people are upset.

There are so many questions that I have running through my head. So many. He tells me he thinks he can drive, but I see the hesitation in his eyes. Then I wonder if I'll be stuck driving him everywhere for the rest of my life. And then I feel guilty for thinking that way.

I think back to when he was two. I started noticing something was off about him. He wasn't speaking. He's garble out a few words, but he wasn't putting sentences together. I'd take him to the park and kids his age were rambling off all sorts of words. Playing together. Meanwhile, my son was off in the corner speaking gibberish walking back and forth, back and forth.

I'd later learn this was called stimming.



Honestly, I'd wonder if he'd ever speak properly. I could understand him, because I stayed home with him and learned his mannerisms. I hated to see him grow frustrated when people didn't understand, so I figured out what he wanted to tell me early on. I'd interpret his grunts for Tom. "He wants a drink," I'd explain, when Tommy would press his sippy cup into his knee and mutter, "Daba."  But I admit, I'd watch the other kids speak clearly to their parents and wonder if Tommy would ever do that. Would it always be the grunting?

And then.

Then, around four, the words began to form. They weren't always clear, but they were clear enough for me. I felt awful for ever doubting him. Of COURSE he'd talk, how silly of me to think otherwise.




So now, when I wonder if he'll ever drive I think, remember when you thought he'd never talk?


Remember?


He's capable of anything.




And even if he doesn't drive, it's okay. He's smart. He can figure out bus schedules. He can ride his bike. Not everyone drives a car, after all.


He'll be okay. He'll show everyone what he can do.



He'll amaze me like he always does.

102 comments:

  1. He's going to do great!! No worrying, mom. He has got this!!

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  2. He may not drive at age 16 like most teenagers his age but I bet he does by the time he's 18 or so.

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  3. Thanks for sharing! He is amazing and so are YOU!! xoxoxoxo

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  4. He's really pretty amazing and I have a feeling that he WILL drive. Maybe it will just take longer. I get that! We're all late bloomers in this house and then it all comes out at once, like whoa.

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  5. Honestly, I don't know if Aven will ever drive either. He's not all that good with balance, depth perception or following directions. For now, I'm just happy he finally got the confidence to ride a bike and jump in a pool.

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  6. Honestly, I don't know if Aven will ever drive either. He's not all that good with balance, depth perception or following directions. For now, I'm just happy he finally got the confidence to ride a bike and jump in a pool.

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  7. From a survivor of teaching my son to drive.............In time and with lots and lots of rolaids and tums YES. Albeit it in his/her own timeline like many other things the driving will come. My son achieved his permit at 18 and his license on his 20th B Day. He will be 22 and hasn't driven on the highway, or in the rain or in the dark.......but we are hopeful by the time he graduates from college he will have achieved a few more driving skills. We landed up having a State Trooper friend take him out to a drive facility with wide open spaces. (after not doing so well with us, our nephew, a few driving schools and and and........)He finally did have the confidence. He works part time as a jailer and takes classes online and his work is about 6 blocks to the right of our house. He will go left, go about 1 1/2 miles out of his way to get to the jail but he gets there. YOU CAN DO IT..............THEY CAN DO IT.............

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  8. Don't fret!! Maybe he won't learn when he's 15, maybe it'll be 21! Who knows?!?! But yes, he's got this!! And actually, I don't drive either!! Trains, buses and taxis are my drivers!! ;)

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  9. I have a 14 almost 15 year old and I am terrified of the whole process! It's interesting to watch the other teens I know. Some drive right at 16 and others have no desire to learn. I think it really just depends on the kiddo and sometimes at 16 they just aren't ready. Good luck to both of us when and if they do start driving :)

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    1. I have a 17 yo. She has no desire to drive. So mom gets to drive her all over. She has mentioned that a few of her friends also are not driving. For the record she did take the permit test an failed but just hasn't cared enough to go back.

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  10. I love this. Your perspective is amazing. :)

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  11. "He'll be okay. He'll show everyone what he can do." YES! Plus, he has an amazing mom who will be there to help when, and if, he's ready to try.

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  12. Driving a car isn't everything, I know plenty of people that chose not to drive - they manage fine. If my wife didn't have a disability I would seriously think of getting rid of our car. Our children can't get a provisional licence until they're 17 so don't worry if he isn't ready at 15 (I actually think 17 is too young anyway).

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  13. I watched a reportage about a person that have autism living in France, and he live normally, work and drive, I hope it won't be a pb here i sthe us :)

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  14. My mom lived her whole life and never drove. She had BAD eyesight and just couldn't do it, so not driving isn't the worst thing in the world :)

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  15. Your son sounds like an amazing young man who will do wonderful things. It seems he goes at his own pace and that is A-ok. I know plenty of people who chose not to drive and they fair well with other modes of transportation, although I believe that if he wants to drive he'll find a way, like you said he's a smart guy!

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  16. Yes that's right he will amaze us all way beyond what we can think or imagine. God bless you and him!

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  17. In the end it shows that we ought to be positive.. Positivity, hopes, will powers all will matter & I'm sure sooner or later, he will drive & then drive off a moms worries! God is with you!

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  18. He's going to be just fine with a great mother like you! This story warms my heart and your son's smile is contagious.

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    1. Totally agree, he has an amazing Mum, whatever he decides to do!

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  19. That is the love of a mother who is concerned about his son. Someday he will amaze you that he's capable of doing it.

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  20. He got this! I'm sure he's going to be great at driving. I understand your concerns though.

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  21. This brought tears to my eyes! I think that as moms we have HUGE dreams for our children,and can sometimes be sad when they don't meet up to those expectations. All kids do things in their own time though, and sometimes they even surprise us at what they can accomplish when they're ready to!

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  22. there's nothing wrong with my cousin and she just chooses to not drive. ever. there's nothing wrong with not driving but i get that as a parent you want the best for your kid and to live a great life. i hope he gets to live as brilliantly as anyone else

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  23. Your son is AMAZING! Even if he doesn't learn to drive, he will make it work! Don't stress momma, he will figure it out :)

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  24. My niece suffers from autism and she does not drive. I don't think she wants to but I think she is capable of it. I am so glad that you support your son in the ways that he needs it because that will get him far in life.

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  25. Sounds like he will do just fine! My cousins son was diagnosed with Autism and he is doing fantastic. He's not at driving age yet, but I'm sure anything they choose to do, they will :).

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  26. I think it would get a little used to especially for him. Once he gets used to the pressures and demands of driving, he'll catch up.

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  27. My son didn't drive until he was 18. Mostly because he didn't need to, but also because it stressed him out.

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  28. Kids are so resilient, and yours fit that description perfectly. He's got a great Mom. So, your son will be just fine.

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  29. I'm sure your son will do great at whatever he sets his mind to! I also know a lot of adults who don't drive for a variety of reasons and they're happier that way :)

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  30. Kids are so strong and resilient. Have faith that he will be able to accomplish anything he sets his mind to. He sounds like a bright kid!

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  31. I'm sure you'll figure something out! Even if he uses public transportation, he'll be reducing his carbon footprint and saving money :) I'm sure you'll know when the time comes, what is safest for him and your family.

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  32. My friends little girl just turned seven and has Autism. She is non verbal but is starting to come out with words that actually go with what she is doing. I think your Son just might surprise you and love to drive.

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  33. I do not really even know anything about autism in general, but I know some can drive. I know two ends of the spectrum - one that can and one that can't!

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  34. As someone who has friends with autism I can safely tell you that whilst it might take time they can drive. My friends did find it difficult to cope with the stress but managed to pull through and are great drivers now. I wish your son luck x

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  35. I have no experience with autism, however I get frustrated driving on these roads with all these crazy people out here, so I can totally understand if he would get frustrated. You have been right by his side and you've seen him overcome amazing challenges...whatever happens with this driving thing, you'll have the strength to see him through! You are his momma and you are awesome! Blessings

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  36. In time like this, it is important to stay positive and supportive. Thanks for sharing your life to us.

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  37. Wow, this is such a tough thought to have. I can only imagine how difficult it is to raise a child with Autism. Your strength and love for your son is beautiful!

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  38. My youngest is 17 and has Down syndrome. It is likely he will never drive but I really don't care, I know he is smart and capable and can do many things. Look how many "typical" people have a license and drive poorly.

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  39. I feel he will do fine but being a mother i can understand the part of your worry. Have faith and i am glad you have shared this in your blog post.

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  40. Yeah... you cannot worry about the things over which you have no control. You do your best, and you do your best for him, and you make him realize that there are always alternatives in life.

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  41. He is such a bright young man, only sky is the limit! He will figure everything out I am sure.

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  42. Your an amazing mother. And so supportive. I think he will if he sets his mine to it. I honesty thought I wouldn't drive myself as I was paranoid but I got over the fear as soon as I learned I could have some freedom. I hope he does and has a fun time learning.

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  43. It'll all be ok, don't you worry. Just let him continue to be his awesome self. :)

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  44. Being a huge fan of Bob's Burgers is no wander I thought of Linda saying alright when I saw his T-shirt. :)) I think you should't worry. Like you said, even if he will not learn how to drive he will be able to ride the bike or use the bus. And it will be ok. If he will ride the bike, he will not get stuck in the traffic, he will exercise and be happier. So just enjoy his birthday and make the best of it.

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  45. You are such a great mom! He will get there, or not. You are doing all you can to set him up for a happy life. Enjoy it, mama!

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  46. What a great smile he has! Thanks for sharing this

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  47. This is a great post and I know you are not alone in your thoughts. It is so important to remember that he has amazed you before and he will do it again. There is always other ways for people to get around and he will figure it out. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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  48. I would say that you both can try and maybe have him drive and see. Always make sure that you're with him when he does and well, you'll eventually find the answers to your questions then. I sure hope he can handle it though. He would feel so proud for sure.

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  49. This is so well written. Thank you for sharing this part of your life. He seems like a great boy, and I know it will all work out the way it is supposed to. It's great that you are very willing to accept whatever that may be. He's a lucky son and you're a lucky mama!

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  50. I love reading this post. The words can only come from the heart of a very loving mom like you. Everyday we worry about our children, and every day, they crush our worries and show us that they can do the things we fear they can't. Hugs to you. You are a great mom and you are raising your kids very well.

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  51. Yes, Stay positive! He has amazing support.

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  52. He has clearly proven himself more than capable. Even if he doesn't start driving the moment he's legally able, his time will come and I'm sure you will be there to support him!

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  53. I absolutely love this post. It actually made me kind of teary. Kids are so capable and your son is absolutely beautiful and wonderful!

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  54. He will do it in his own time. I know all types of kids with all types of issues and sometimes 16 is not the magic age.

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  55. Aww, bless him. He really is amazing :) You just never know, do you? I think he may surprise you and be able to do it when he's a little older!

    Louise x

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  56. I feel he will drive when he is ready. I am over 20 and i still can not drive because of my fear of driving.

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  57. I think he will drive. I have fear driving and actually don't like driving but sometimes I have to.

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  58. I believe that he will drive when he's ready. Being a parent is hard let alone having a child who needs extra time/love. It's hard to know when to let go and when to hold on!

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  59. I'm sure he will do great. No need to overthink. He will learn to drive when he is ready to learn and when he wants to.

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  60. Just take it slow in teaching him and I'm sure he'll do fine. One of the best things would be to go over every possible scenario that you can think of with him. He'll feel more prepared that way. Make sure he has every phone number that he might ever need with him in the car and also in his wallet. The practicing scenarios and preparing for various circumstances will help give him confidence.

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  61. Only time can tell, and you will know when the time is right for him to drive. I understand your anxiety, but I know with you as his mom, he will get all the confidence he needs to get behind the wheel and be a responsible driver.

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  62. I believe your son will learn to drive and will get his license. If the more impaired people (no legs and hands) could managed to drive on their own, then your son will do it! He will nailed the driving exam. :)

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  63. Awww what a great story. Sounds like he is learning so much, you never he might just surprise you.

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  64. I think your son may surprise you and drive one day and if he doesn't, that's OK too. I applaud you for telling your story and I'm sure it's a blessing to so many parents.

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  65. Think it will be alright if he never drives he would just have to live somewhere with good public transportation. Totally up to him and how he feels about driving.

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  66. Kids always surprise us! And it will be totally ok, if he doesn't drive! Lot's of people don't drive. And then again he may be like my daughter, she didn't her her permit until she was almost 17.

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  67. He is a great kid and I am sure whether he drives or not, he will do great things. I know a few autistic kids who drive, so you just never know.

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  68. Teens are stressful enough without driving privileges. Let's just bump it to an older age. My 17 you has no interest yet. It used to bother me but now I take that as one less thing to worry about. Good luck with you and your son.You'll know when it's right and he'll know when it's right.

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  69. Some do. Some don't and guess what it's okay either way. Rest assured somewhere there's a mom reading your post wondering the same exact thing. My best friend's son was diagnosed with Asperger's and she too wondered would he do this, would he do that. Well, he has done some amazing things and driving isn't one of them. So, I think you'll know in due time if he will or not but either way, it's ok.

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  70. My other half doesn't drive, I'm not sure why it just never seems to have appealed to him and to be honest unless I'm driving I get car sick so it works OK for us at the moment at least.
    I guess only time will tell what is right for your son.

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  71. You are right mama. He will figure it all out in his own time. Even if that means learning bus schedules.

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  72. It might take him some time but he'll do great! Only time will tell.

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  73. As I've said before, look how many "typical" people have a license and drive poorly.My youngest is 17 and has Down syndrome. It is likely he will never drive and I really don't care, I know he is smart and capable and can do many things.

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  74. My late brother had autism and like most things, it just took him longer to warm up to driving. There is hope...in his own time.

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  75. Your post made me a little emotional. Your son is one amazing individual. He will go on to do great things. Just you watch!

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  76. This is super sweet! I think everyone learns to drive at a different pace. It's definitely a lot to get used to when you're starting out!

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  77. A momma's love shines through this post. You are amazing and so is your son.

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  78. This got me emotional. Being a mother, all these feelings and worries are apt for your child. I am sure and wish he copes up and learns to drive confidently. Don't Worry, he will prove himself. Some people might take time but you are the confidence for him.

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  79. As moms we all want our children to succeed and be on the same level as other children their age. You are doing great job as a mom. Just continue to encourage him and I am sure he will surprise you.

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  80. My fifteen-year-old has her drivers' permit right now. The good thing about learning to drive is that you get to be in the passenger seat and observe and teach for a long time before your child gets his license. You'll have plenty of opportunities during practice for your son to feel overwhelmed with you sitting right there next to him to coach him through it. I don't have a child with autism, but I agree with your positive attitude. I think your son can do it!

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  81. I am sure he will surprise you again and again! I am not on the spectrum and I had to take the test 3 times before I was allowed to drive and I was 20 years old. Everyone is different, autism or not. I hope he knows how lucky he is with you as his mom!

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  82. Don't worry about the future, Mama! Your son is in great hands thanks to having a mother like you around. My friend's kid is on the spectrum and he is able to successfully drive.

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  83. Maybe not when other 16 year olds do, but maybe in the future. I know several kids who just wasn't interested in the responsibility of it at 18 and waited.

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  84. No matter what he decides to do I think he will be okay because you are there to always support and help him. You are a special kind of MOM!

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  85. I know many people who do not drive and get around no problem. You never know, you son may learn how to drive and really enjoy it.

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  86. I think with the right support, he can go far. He's a smart kid and I think he will get used to driving just as he will everything else.

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  87. I suspect there is a good chance he'll be driving one day when he's ready. He may not be 16 and go it later, but it's not impossible. Worst case scenario, he is somewhere with a great public transportation system.

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  88. I think your son will know if and when he feels confident in joining us on the roadway. As moms we worry about our children, but they are capable of so much more than we can even imagine!

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  89. I would like to say that he talked when you thought he would not. Believe in him, I am sure he will drive one day. The boy is really a very determined guy and will fight his fears and emerge with flying colours.

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  90. I think kids will drive when they are ready, autism or not. My oldest niece just turned 18 and just learned how to drive. She doesn't have autism but she wanted to do it on her own terms and I feel like your son will too. He will do it on his own terms when he's ready, if he's ready. It sounds like he will do great things one day!!

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  91. He sounds like a strong determined young man. I'm sure you will all come to the best decision for him when the time is right.

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  92. Your son is going to be fine, whether or not he gets a drivers license or not. You are a great mom and he will reach greater heights with you supporting and encouraging him everyday.

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  93. With your support he can conquer the world. You are an amazing mother.

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  94. He will do great in anything as he has a mother like you. God bless you both. He is super cute. lots of love.

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  95. The sky's the limit! There is no need in letting something as trivial as driving stop him from pursuing his dreams in life!

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  96. It takes a strong person to raise a child, no matter what the circumstances. Hey, it could be a blessing in disguise and who knows, maybe one day he will surprise you, just like he did with his speech!

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  97. He's such an angel! I know in the future, he'll be able to drive too with proper practice.

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  98. Oh. Honestly I don't have any idea about kids with autism. But I believe that he'll do good in everything and anything.

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  99. Life is definitely not easy when you have a kid born with a disability. My daughter also has autism and she's six now and still has no words. I am hoping that she will have a few words some day. Keeping my hopes up 😀

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