Do You Have the Skills to Specialise in Teaching Autistic People to Drive?

Posted on: 15 May 2017

Qualifying as a driving instructor can give you the tools you need to forge an interesting career on your own terms, or even just earn extra money in your spare time. There will always be a steady supply of people who want to learn to drive, so work should always be available once you're trained and certified. What's more, if you ever want to move to another country, you'll find it easier to get work anywhere in the world.

But not all learner drivers are the same, and some people need a special type of driving instructor to help them succeed. If you have these skills, you could specialise in teaching autistic people to drive, which makes the job even more rewarding.

You have keen intuition

Autism is on a spectrum, and that means that autistic people vary massively in how they're affected and what they find difficult. While some people will pick up driving immediately and take to it naturally, others will struggle to understand the basics – and some of that group will have no trouble with more advanced information.

As an instructor, it will be up to you to work out the needs of learners right away. You'll need to establish how your students will learn most easily so you can teach them effectively and minimise stress.

You're good at thinking on your feet

When you're teaching people to drive, you might find that you develop standard ways of explaining things to students, and that it works for the majority of people. However, people with autism can sometimes find social communication difficult, which makes it hard to understand instructions and information if it's unclear or ambiguous.

If you're a fast thinker, you'll be able to think of creative ways to tell people what they need to know and find new methods of teaching on the fly.

You're a patient person

It's important to foster a calm atmosphere when teaching driving and never is this more vital than when you're teaching someone with autism.

If you're able to keep patient with someone and give them the time they need to understand how it all works, you could make a great specialist driving instructor.

You're good with other people

Because social skills are impaired in many autistic people, they can struggle around other people. This can be particularly difficult in a one-on-one situation with someone they've only just met. If you're a people person, you'll be able to make autistic students feel more comfortable and relaxed, so they'll enjoy learning to drive.