Learning Difficulties and Driving

A Guide to Learning Difficulties for ADIs                                                 0779 855 3932

There is a lot of talk at the moment about learning difficulties and learning to drive but nothing in particular that is helpful coming from the DSA to help ADIs & PDIs so I have pepared this guide/explanation, with a lot of help from a very good friend and teacher Noreen Smith & John Brown an ex teacher who specialised in special needs for learning and physical difficulties and has carried this through into his carreer as an ADI.

It is of the utmost importance to understand that I am a driving instructor and not a special needs teacher or adviser and these guides are not meant for the purpose of diagnosing your pupils. That is for the people who specialise in that type of work. These notes are simply to help us understand the position our pupils may be in and hopefully help us to structure their learning experience with us to their best advantage and help them to leave us with a memory of a good experience not a bad one.

It must be remembered that though the DSA ask candidates to declare any learning difficulties they may have on their applications for tests their examiners receive almost no training  in this at all (physical included) from what I have been told by examiners I have asked. So if you get an examiner who understands and is helpful then you got one of the  good guys who has gone out of his/her way to do a bit of research in their own time, they may even have learned from experience with a member of their own family .


I hope you find these notes are of help and they remove some “ideas ” you may have had which were maybe inaccurate. If however you find an error in here then please help me and others by emailing me so that I may correct it. Thank you.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Dyslexia.

 The word dyslexia comes from the Greek and means “difficulty with words”.Dyslexia affects the learning process in      relation to reading ,writing and speaking. Such difficulties aredisproportionate to the pupils other academic abilities. Dyslexia is indicated by a mismatch between an individuals assessed ability and his /her attainments in literacy related areas.Dyslexia may affect the development of the pupils ability to remember in sequence what is seen or heard, his /her ability to identify sounds in words and his/her ability to put things in order (information,letters, stories,directions,numbers,days of the week,months of the year etc), it may affect concentration,co-ordination,letter/numeral formation skills and the speed of reading or understanding. Additionally, the pupil may have problems with directions,map reading,recognising left and right,spelling, copying words and numbers from a book or a blackboard.
Pupils’ learning arising from Dyslexia are on a continuum that ranges from mild to severe. Students’ confidence and self esteem are often affected and they appear to lack motivation.
Check this link out for much more information and possible help…http://www.lifecoach-directory.org.uk/articles/dyslexia-coaching.html
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
Dyspraxia. Dyspraxia is sub divided into two groups. 

Developmental Co ordination Disorder.
 Pupils with DCD find it exceptionally difficult to acquire the movement skills that are expected of them in everyday life and are often referred to as “clumsy”. Such pupils do not suffer from any known neurological condition and their difficulties are not explicable in terms of a generalised delay in development. Pupils may have difficulty in coordinating their movements, perceptions and thoughts. They exhibit difficulty in everyday tasks such as using a knife and fork and may confuse left and right. With the driving environment this may pose problems. It is often difficult for the pupil to maintain an erect posture either when sitting or standing , so may not be able to hold the best seating position for driving and not just looking lazy they may need to prop their bodies with their arms which can cause difficulties with steering.This may also lead to pupils being fidgety.
Some may have have additional speech problems others are distractable and show an inability to organise their behaviour.Some may have poor spatial awareness, this may show up in “meet” type situations for example. Pupils may have difficulty with their self help and organisational skills and may find it difficult to remember what piece of equipment is needed for what activity, wipers etc. Some may have difficulty identifying potential dangers eg, developing hazards and therefore responding a little late to the danger. DCD can also be associated with a delay or disorder in expressive language skills, such as sequencing words within a sentence,or in controlling the movements necessary to articulate certain speech sounds.
……………………………………….…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
Click on the logo below for a link to more information.
                                                                                 
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
Please remember the most important thing of all is to teach the person and not the disability.


From another source;The effects of Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC) within the Driving Community 

Special Needs (SN): a Generic term used for any aspects of Physical, Mental, Emotional & Educational Difficulties.Specific Needs (SpN): the term used for well-functioning people whose development may have varied from the norm, but experience areas of difficulty which may make them behave differently and so need to learn in an alternative way.

Specific Requirements:
  a term used to explain the appropriate support which would help balance any differences.ASC: manifests wide-ranging characteristics and although a separate condition, dyspraxia may be linked. Many people who function normally have aspects of 3 main classifications. It is not an illness, but an individual personality difference.

Autism: Severe cases will not be able to relate to other road users well enough to enable them to drive safely. Those who do may appear to be extremely shy and refuse to speak (elective mutes) make odd sounds and only feel complete within their own world. The car environment allows them to be relaxed and become competent drivers and enables them to function normally, comfortably and safely within their own metal box.

Aspergers: often highly intelligent, avid researchers, incredibly knowledgeable within a specific field of interest, but may lack understanding of what would normally be recognised as basic life matters. They can switch from adult to childlike behaviour and become stressed by the unfamiliar. Can be very verbose and appear to be superior, but detached from reality. Because they see life differently they enrich all our lives with their humour and use of language. 

See also The National Autistic Society/asperger

Semantic Pragmatic Disorder: A difficulty in understanding language in normal usage. They experience severe problems with unnecessary complex Theory Questions which will require explanations. The knowledge will be there, but the required answer may not be forthcoming, although a rational explanation may be expressed. They will not understand why their ‘correct’ answer is not acceptable. Having developed a system of Social Skills they may present as ‘normal’, but Q & A is often irrelevant and may cause panic and freezing, as they try to work out what response is required. They may find it difficult to fully understand what is required through the medium of speech and may take speech literally without any understanding of innuendo or the ability to accept hints. Language must be clear and direct.
Many candidates will not be prepared to state their condition on their test application as it is personal to who they are as people and they would not see themselves as being abnormal or disabled. In fact they would perceive the other people to be different for not being able or prepared to accept their particular characteristics. This may have led to bullying, withdrawal and self harm. They can behave in fixed and formulated patterns as there is a right and wrong way to behave, so if others are in the wrong, then they are the ones who should make the necessary changes.
Examples-a) Candidate turning right at roundabout with both lanes partially blocked, but with a medial gap, so he waits for car in front to reverse to allow his free passage into the left lane. His reasoning was misunderstood so a serious fault given for positioning. 

b) Candidate about to begin reverse round corner as a car approaches so he correctly waits. The driver turns into his drive, gets out, opens the boot and collects his belongings, opens the door of the house, walks in, closes the door, so candidate can now continue as danger was over. Driving fault given for hesitation as examiner said, “I realised he was a bit different”. 


Face to face discussion is difficult; therefore they are unlikely to be able to converse by phone, especially mobiles, since the social clues are absent owing to the lack of visual context and the inadequate wave lengths used. Investigative DSA calls will therefore be inappropriate. Once a pattern is established then it will be inflexible and permanent, but irrelevance or Short Term Sequential Memory can be problematic since it disturbs their concentration and their control of their circumstances. They may happily use technology such as Sat Navs. since they can relate to inanimate objects more easily than people, or may use Post it notes to not only trigger their memory but also to prevent the memory from being overwhelmed by the panic of the task of attempting to remember. 
The choice of method of ID must be offered to the candidate as for many the Sequential Memory Test has been proved to be actually dangerous owing to the brain being overwhelmed by the task of memory, rather than being fully available to be used for safe driving. As it is not something they would ever choose to use in real life, it would not enter their understanding as a skill which required developing. They may present as very smartly dressed because they believe that is what is expected, but they will not question the examiner’s authority by asking for a reinforcement of an instruction/direction as that will be beyond their communicational ability. The examiner should be aware and experienced to identify the hidden Specific Needs which are presented. It is the wider spectrum of those in our society which so enriches us all and they must have the right to an equal opportunity to attain a licence.
Quick Bessie, we have to get these papers to Hastings Driving Lessons as soon as we can.

 

 

 

Be Sociable, Share!

5 thoughts on “Learning Difficulties and Driving”

  1. I just couldn’t leave your web site prior to suggesting that I extremely enjoyed the usual information an individual supply for your guests? Is going to be back steadily to check up on new posts

  2. Hey There. I discovered your weblog using msn. That is a really well written article. I’ll make sure to bookmark it and return to learn more of your helpful info. Thank you for the post. I will certainly comeback.

  3. Pingback: URL

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *