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?


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.


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

  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.

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

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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.............

  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!! ;)

  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 :)

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

  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.

  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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