Dyspraxia and Driving

in Learning To Drive by

Dyspraxia is a developmental coordination disorder that affects several different aspects of the brain, making practical learning tasks a little more difficult. Around 6 to 10 percent of the population suffer from Dyspraxia, but the issue is that in many cases it is a hidden disability, many people live with the disorder with no diagnosis. However, once you have a diagnosis, it will be easier to be able to identify your strengths and weaknesses and how to overcome your struggles. Dyspraxia and driving may at first seem like a bad combination, but there are a many ways to make driving with Dyspraxia more manageable

Learning To Drive With Dyspraxia

Each individual with Dyspraxia faces different struggles. The most common effects of the disorder are a struggle to gasp hand-eye coordination, spatial awareness and short-term memory. Although this is likely to make driving lessons harder, there are no legislations around driving with Dyspraxia, so Dyspraxia sufferers are just as able to learn to drive as anyone else.

hand on steering wheel

What Aspects Of Driving Does Dyspraxia Affect?

Many people discover that they have Dyspraxia when they start learning to drive, people simply put their struggles down to nerves then realise it is a little more than just being nervous. Dyspraxia affects your ability to judge things such as speed and distance. This can be anything from the distance between cars to the gap between your car and the pavement. The short-term memory component of the disorder makes it hard to remember instructions and sequences. Both of these aspects will make it extremely difficult for suffers to hack manoeuvres as to do so you need to be able to judge your speed and distance while following a sequence of instructions. It could be the case that people have no problems at all when practising the manoeuvre with step by step guidance from their instructor, but when it is time to go it alone, there are struggles.

How To Overcome Dyspraxia When Learning to Drive

Everyone knows their strengths and weaknesses, but some useful recommendations could help Dyspraxia suffers conquer driving lessons.

instructor with teenage girl

Feel Comfortable

The first is to make sure that you are comfortable with your instructor, this is essential with anyone learning to drive, but even more relevant if you have Dyspraxia. If you know that you suffer from the disorder, don’t be afraid to let your instructor know, it will help them to understand your needs. If your instructor has many years of experience, it is likely that you won’t be the first person they have taught with Dyspraxia and you won’t be the last. Working together as a team with your instructor will help both you and they feel comfortable, they will start to learn how your brain functions and how you learn best. Every person learns in different ways, so your driving instructor will be more than used to slightly altering their way of teaching to suit each individual’s needs. It is common for each instructor to teach things like manoeuvres different ways, which means there is not just one set way of learning. It means can go through several different ways of doing one particular task until you find the way that suits you best.

Find Your Way Of Learning

Secondly is discovering the way you like learning best and informing your instructor, if you feel uncomfortable learning or practising in a certain way, make it clear. As dyspraxia suffers struggle with spatial awareness, busy areas may become stressful when trying to learn how to drive and do manoeuvres. If you prefer to do lots of practice in a quiet area such as a car park or industrial estate before trying, then take as long as you need to get it perfect instead of jumping straight into it. Of course, at some point, you will need to drive in real life situations, but your instructor will only make you when you feel comfortable and ready.

Try Different Length Lessons

Short-term memory is an aspect of Dyspraxia that will need to be considered. It would be a good idea to test out different lengths of lessons until you find what is best for you. You want to have the most productive lesson as possible and intake as much information as you can. Everyone has a different length of concentration time, and this applies to driving, there is a lot to remember, so you do not want to strain yourself. Driving lessons are for a minimum of one hour, so try out just an hour lesson, then try out a more extended lesson and see what works best for you.

Try Hazard Perception Practice

A useful tool to help with spatial awareness and judging distances is the hazard perception tests. Although most people only practice their hazard perception to make sure that they pass their theory, it can be a beneficial practice to help to judge the distance between you and other cars, pedestrians or any other vehicles on the road if it is something that you struggle with. Hazard Perception practice tests allow you to spot potential hazards as soon as possible and click as the danger becomes closer. It will help to train your brain to look for potential hazards around you while concentrating on driving and know when it is the best time and distance to react to them before it becomes an issue. There are several different free online hazard perception tests, but paid hazard perception apps are usually a lot more useful and easier to use.

Don’t Panic!

Learning to drive is a stressful time for anyone of any age and capability. Every learner takes a different amount of time and lessons to pass their test. No one is expected to pass first time if you do that is just a plus side. The key to learning to drive with Dyspraxia is to feel at utmost comfort with your instructor; they will learn how to calm you down and make driving lessons in Luton enjoyable rather than a hassle. Find how you learn best, and your instructor will work around your needs, remember it is their primary priority to help you pass. Always ask for feedback from your instructor on your progress, you will be surprised how much you pick up without even realising and reassurance will help boost your confidence. Most importantly, don’t panic!

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