Driving with Dyspraxia

Learning to drive can bring some difficulties for everyone, but taking lessons with the developmental coordination disorder, Dyspraxia can intensify these problems for pupils. Dyspraxia commonly lives undiagnosed which can become incredibly frustrating.

Dyspraxia affects hand-eye coordination, spatial awareness and short-term memory sequences. It is a hidden disability present from birth and affects between 6 and 10 per cent of the population. Due to the areas of the brain the disorder affects, driving with dyspraxia can often prove extremely tricky.

Why Is Driving With Dyspraxia More Difficult?

Aspects of driving such as learning manoeuvres, clutch control and making accurate judgements are often difficult for any new drivers, but are enhanced even more so if an individual suffers from dyspraxia.

Manoeuvres prove a particular struggle as they require the ability to remember a set of instructions and show accurate spatial awareness, both of which are particularly impacted by dyspraxia. While performing manoeuvres, drivers must be able to judge their distance between other road users, curbs and guidance lines while acting on a sequence of steps and coordinating their hands and feet.

A previous driveJohnson’s pupil who was taking driving lessons in Clacton-on-Sea seemed to find processing directions rather hard. He would need instructions repeated a numerous amount of times and found it very difficult to remember sequences that had just been explained. There were also times when he would practice a manoeuvre and do it perfectly but would then struggle to achieve the same result again for some time afterwards. This pupil was later diagnosed with Dyspraxia, but often thought that the problems that he was encountering were down to nerves. With patience, determination and hard work on both parts, driveJohnson’s helped him to pass his driving test with no issues.

instructor guiding learner

Tips For Taking Driving Lessons With Dyspraxia

Dyspraxia shouldn’t limit your ability to pass your test and get on the roads independently, there are many ways that you can alter your lessons to make the most out of your strengths and work on your weaknesses. It’s all about working as a team with your driving instructor and finding a teaching method that works well for you both.

If you’re hoping to start lessons soon or are already taking lessons and struggling a little, we’ve devised a list of some useful tips for driving with dyspraxia:

  • Experiment with different lesson lengths: Short-term memory is one of the most significant aspects of dyspraxia, which can often make it easy to lose concentration mid-lesson. It is always recommended to experiment taking several different lesson lengths to ensure you make the most out of every hour. You never want to over-work yourself and become stressed, it will only make you hate lessons. Try an initial taster lesson, then an hour at a time, then increase lesson time as you become more advanced.
  • Communicate with your instructor: No driver can honestly say that they’d never experienced a horror of a lesson that they left feeling frustrated and disappointed. If this is the case, let your instructor know, inform them that you have dyspraxia and it may require a little more practice for you to nail particular driving skills. Never be afraid to communicate, it means you can experiment with many different learning methods until you find what is comfortable for you. Your instructor is likely to be one of the most patient people you will ever meet, they will aim to do everything they can to help you feel confident behind the wheel, even if it means taking a breather from driving and stepping outside of the car.
  • Practice spatial awareness: Dyspraxia affects people in many different ways. If you find grasping spatial awareness particularly hard, spending extra time practising hazard perception will prove highly beneficial. Hazard perception gives you the perfect opportunity to practice spotting a hazard in advance and then acting on it before it becomes a risk. Continue to work on your hazard perception even after you’ve passed your theory test, it will help you to understand how far away hazards are and at what distance you need to consider, for example, slowing down or alerting others around you.
  • Take extra practice: It’s a great idea, for any learner, to get insured as a provisional holder on a family member or friends car for additional practice outside of lessons. Even if it means driving to a quiet spot such as an empty carpark in the evening and practising your manoeuvres until you remember each sequence like the back of your hand. No amount of practice is too much!

Luckily, there are various different sources of support if you are worried about learning to drive with dyspraxia or any other struggles you may face. The Dyspraxia Foundation is an excellent organisation who can provide you with a whole of useful information regarding dyspraxia!

Laws Regarding Driving With Dyspraxia

Although dyspraxia can affect a sufferer’s ability to grasp many basic driving skills, there are no laws or legislation from the DVSA regarding driving with dyspraxia. If you live with the disorder, you are not limited in any area when it comes to getting your licence.

Unlike driving with Autism, you do not need to inform the DVLA of your condition when applying for your provisional licence. However, if you feel particularly worried and unsure of the level in which dyspraxia may affect your driving, there is no harm in highlighting the issue to the organisations.

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