Is Your Teen with Autism Ready to Drive? 8 Ways to Start Teaching Them

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6. Talk about nonverbal communication.

There are a variety of ways that drivers communicate with one another, and very few of them involve actual words. Some people with autism struggle with nonverbal communication, so it’s important to discuss ways in which your teen will need to “talk” and “listen” to other drivers. Discuss the meaning of signal lights and brake lights, as well as the unwritten rules, such as the fact that a nod or a wave from another driver at an intersection generally means he or she is waiting for you to go first.

5. Limit distractions

While your teen may not be able to drive alone before they have their license, you can help by not causing or allowing distractions in the car while you’re a passenger (and encouraging any other passengers your child drives with to do the same). Don’t play music or talk much while your teen is focused on driving, and don’t have too many people in the car at once. When your child is able to drive on their own, encourage them to limit the number of people they allow to ride with them and ask passengers to keep the noise level down.

Click “next” for more tips on teaching your teen with autism how to drive.

Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?
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