Drivers with Autism

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Autism and driving

Considerations for pursuing driving

For young people with autism and their families the decision to pursue driving has many considerations.
Fortunately, there is more research to help guide that decision than there was in the past.

Learner drivers and their families express challenges with learning to drive that include

On average, it may take longer for an individual with ASD to learn to drive. Time, patience, supportive instructors, as well as specialized training techniques, may lead to successful outcomes.

It is also important to recognize that not everyone with ASD has difficulty learning to drive. Similarly, not everyone with ASD will be able to overcome the challenges associated with learning to drive.


What are some of the specialized training topics?

Autistic drivers tend to focus on the horizon versus scanning for immediate hazards like brake lights of the car in front

An Innovative program in South Carolina teaches autistic teens visual search skills

East Carolina University’s Occupational Therapy program has a Boot Camp to help autistic teens prepare to be drivers

Getting Out2

Driving and Aspergers: Balancing Independence and Safety


Almberg, M., Selander, H., Falkmer, M. V., S., Ciccarelli, M., & Flalkmer, T. (2015). Experiences of facilitators or barriers in driving education from learner and novice drivers with ADHD or ASD and their driving instructors. Developmental Neurorehabilitation, electronic, 1-9.

Chee, D., Lee, H., Patomella, A., & Falkmer, T. (2019). The visual search patterns of drivers with autism spectrum disorders in complex driving scenarios. Journal of Transport & Health, 14, 1-9.

Curry, A., Metzger, K. B., Carey, M. E., ASartin, E. B., Huang, P., & Yerys, B. E. (2021). Comparison of motor vehicle crashes, traffic violations, and license suspensions between autistic and non-autistic adolescent and young adult drivers. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Wilson, N. J., Stevens, A., Srasuebkul, P., Kersten, M., Lin, Z., Trollor, J. N., & Arnold, S. R. C. (2021). Exploring the relationship between community mobility and quality of life, employment and completing further education for autistic adults. Journal of Transport & Health, 22, 1-11.


Physicians, healthcare professionals, and rehabilitation therapists can be helpful in the journey from deciding whether to pursue driving and learning how to drive.

You may want to seek an Occupational Therapist who specializes in autism and driving as well as driver rehabilitation specialists that have additional knowledge about autism.

Things to consider before pursing driving

Driving requires executive function skills that have their foundation in many activities of daily living. This is a small sample of life skills to help prepare for driving.

Drivers with Autism

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I tell all my beginner drivers about drive focus. It is especially helpful for students are missing important things or hazards.  My students have told me: I think it’s great!. It’s smooth & simple. It was helpful for learning to drive! It wasn’t glitchy or buggy, where I clicked actually works.
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Maryfrances Gross
University of Kentucky 
As a clinician in a neuro clinic, I use Drive Focus with many of my patients. It's a terrific home program with objective feedback on speed of processing and visual attention. Patients love that it looks like driving and enjoy trying to improve their scores.
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Beth Rolland
Upstate University Hospital of Syracuse
Drive Focus has been well received by Australian Occupational Therapists at two national conferences and during many workshops, with excitement about the opportunities for our clients and their driving. My clients find it easy and fun to use. It was a privilege to support Drive Focus with recording the Melbourne videos.
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Megan Coulter
Occupational Therapist
Drive Focus has taken Australia by storm! Driving Well OT in Brisbane collaborated with Miriam to bring Drive Focus to Australia, winning the Australian Road Safety Foundation award in 2021. It’s worldwide OT conference premier was in Melbourne (“Mel-bin”!) in June 2022, with OTs being excited and impressed by the impact Drive Focus can have on clients with executive functioning disorders who want to learn or return to driving. Affordable, accessible, brain-training for driving!
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Jenny Gribbin
Occupational Therapist
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Owner Pathways Rehabilitation Services, LLC
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I love using Drive Focus with my clients recovering from strokes to work on scanning and processing activities in preparation for driving. I also use Drive Focus with inexperienced drivers to get ready to learn to drive. The app is easy to use, very affordable, and the visuals are great!
Susie Touchinsky
Adaptive Mobility Services, LLC
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