As of a couple of years ago, Max wasn't interested in learning how to drive. As of late, oh yes, he does. There is definitely some sibling rivalry happening, because Sabrina is about to start taking driving lessons. But this is also a part of Max's burgeoning independence and perhaps he is ever so slightly tired of us after a year of pandemic quarantining and just wants his freedom. Can't blame him there.
Dave has been doing this slightly unnerving thing of letting Max help steer, and I am the cliched backseat driver. Disclaimer: Do not try this at home.
I was talking about Max and driving with my sister-in-law yesterday, who had the excellent idea of seeing whether we could rent one of those driver ed cars. I started googling and discovered the existence of certified driver rehabilitation specialists, who figure out solutions for drivers with disabilities. I searched the member directory at The Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists, found a few at a local rehab center (they're all occupational therapists) and reached out to one I looked up on LinkedIn because she looked friendly and because my Spidey senses said she might be game to figure out a lesson plan for Max and how he can get a learner's permit.
I mean, Max started driving bumper cars on his own back in 2014 and he's good at it. That's gotta mean something, right?!
Yeah, I miss those cheeks too.
I haven't yet discovered much research online. An article on developmental disabilities and drivers from Children's Hospital in Philadelphia was pretty discouraging (if realistic), noting that everything from reaction times to judgment calls can pose challenges for young adults with neurodevelopmental differences. One study that examined 609 youth with autism in New Jersey found that fewer than one third of them got a driver's license, versus 83% of other adolescents. Again, not surprising.
But then, studies don't tell you what's possible when you have a determined son and an equally determined set of parents. I have a feeling that way or another, Max will be hitting the road.