Monday, April 20, 2015

Max doesn't want to borrow the car

Last night, Max was cruising YouTube, looking for interesting videos involving fire trucks or BMWs (his car of choice).

The question popped into my head and I blurted it out:

"Max, do you want to drive a car when you grow up?"

"No!" he said, emphatically.

He's previously informed that when he is a firefighter he plans to sit in the back of the truck and not be the driver, but this was the first I'd heard about him not wanting to drive a car. In fact, one of his favorite activities is sitting in our driveway in the driver's seat of our minivan and pretending to drive.

"Why don't you want to drive?" I asked.

"Ash!" he said, and made a motion with his hands of a crash.

Oh, my heart. He was afraid he'd cause an accident. I knew what he was thinking.

"You don't want to drive because you have cerebral palsy?" I asked.

He nodded.

"Max, people with cerebral palsy can drive!" I said. I showed him some videos on YouTube. He was particularly fascinated by a guy with cerebral palsy driving a pick-up truck and a woman with CP who gave a detailed description of her car adaptations.

"Max, you'd probably drive better than Daddy!" I said.

"WHAT?!" said Dave.

Max laughed.

Then we checked out self-driving cars. Max watched the Google version navigate itself around with awe. Audi just came out with one and we watched that video, too.

"Wow!" he said.

In the end, he said he still wasn't interested in driving and I let it go. Hey, it's not like he's going to be applying for his license tomorrow. He has plenty of time to decide. Who knows, by the time he's old enough to hit the road everyone could be using self-flying cars.

I certainly don't want to give Max false hopes about driving; I just want him to know that possibilities exist. The cerebral palsy may give him considerable challenges with fine-motor skills and coordination, but in his mind, I want him to view life as one big, open road, awaiting him.


  1. Almost cried reading this- knowing Max understands CP enough to know his limitations.

  2. When our child was diagnosed with their very rare disorder 10 years ago, I cried for a whole night. My biggest worry was my child catching public transport and being 'interfered' with by a stranger. My husband laughed at me as I sobbed during sunrise. And he said to me, 10 years ago, by the time our child needs to take public transport they might have driverless vehicles - do not worry about the future, worry about now. And every time a driverless vehicle is on the news, he reminds me about his advice 10 years ago. I hate it when he's right but I'm more than a little excited about the potential for people with disabilities and their 'piloting' driverless vehicles.

  3. As a person with multiple physical, mental, sand emotional disabilities, I always simply assumed that I wouldn't drive. It is with hope and interest that I watch as driverless cars come closer and closer to being part of our everyday reality. Max has time before it even becomes a question. I believe he will find a way.

  4. When the next school year starts, I will be able to get my permit. I'm excited and scared. The open road (or traffic-congested road) is every bit as dangerous as it is appealing.

    1. I have my permit now and could have my lisence but I really have not driven due to pain issues. I will someday.

  5. The self-drivingf cars will indeed inmprove life for people with all kinds of disabilitiies, not jus physcial. Let me warn you Ellen as much as you might wantr to see Max do all these wonderful things the driver-less car really is't a bad alternative to Max driving himself. So while it would be nice to see him drive, be hjappy hje's going to be right on the cutting edge of technology! Also wouldn't everybordy enjoy not having to be behind the wheel??

  6. It's great that you're starting to explore possibilities early! I can vouch for the fact that for someone with physical disabilities, there is no greater tool of independence than a car, adapted if needed, and a valid driver's license. I didn't even think about driving until my last year of college, because my physical impairments made it seem scary and impossible. I think I was mainly afraid to find out that I couldn't. But faced with graduation and having to leave my nice small residential campus, I decided I'd better find out one way or another. It turned out I just needed a couple of easy adaptations, and I could operate a car without difficulty. My only restriction now is that I can only drive my own car. My disabilities ended up not being much of a barrier, and others will find it harder. But I've also known and ridden shotgun with several drivers who are quadriplegics, and more amputees, paraplegics, and people with CP than I can count.


Thanks for sharing!

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