I want some information about people with autism and driving. Google helps me with NOTHING about info from actual autistic people, of whatever age and driving level, on their experiences. -.- as usual
question for y’all: driving
Anonymous said to realsocialskills:realsocialskills said:I don’t drive, because thus far I have not figured out a way to do it safely. I have unreliable motor skills and weak spatial reasoning and poor executive function. These have all caused me trouble in my various attempts to learn to drive safely. I think I probably could learn to compensate for this kind of impairment with sufficient support, but I don’t want to learn driving through trial and error because error could involve crashing cars and killing people.Have any of y’all who’re autistic or otherwise disabled learned to drive safely? How?
I’m in the process of learning to drive (have driven on the road in traffic, so I’m getting towards functional) and I don’t seem to be having any particular problems. According to my mother, I’m learning slightly faster than average.
On the other hand, I also don’t have the poor spatial reasoning that can come with autism, and my motor skill problems are specifically ones that wouldn’t cause a problem in driving (you don’t need a lot of really fine motor control to control a car). My main related issues are just executive functioning. The big thing that helps with that is having someone in the seat next to you telling you what you’re doing, so you can focus on all the things involved in safe driving and not where you’re going or what turn to take next. I’m hoping I’ll get better at doing both at the same time as I practice more.
I’ve known other autistic people who could drive with no problems, so I think this is something that probably depends a lot on what autistic traits you have.
Yeah it would defiantly depend on not only which skills/issues you have but also how you are able to use them.
For example about 50% of my friends are incapable of driving for primarily just having horrible anxiety. I have pretty bad anxiety too but for some reason it’s not a big issue for me and driving?
it’s actually more like the opposite because the anxiety basically tells me “no one is paying attention they will hit you” so I assume everyone is going to run stop signs, cut me off etc. which ends up probably resulting in me being a safer driver because every time someone DOES run a sign or cut me off I am expecting it.
Focus is another thing. I actually kind of have trouble if someone else is in the car talking to me, but if not driving is one of basically two things (the other one is drawing) that I can actually channel my brain into focusing on just the one thing without distractions.
Another thing to consider is the actual car you are driving matters a lot. Like I hate driving mom’s big fat crossover suv because the rear is wider than the front and it makes parking an maneuvering.
My car on the other hand is this
check the distance from the wheels to the bumpers. The tactile feedback from the car is mostly through the wheels so it is REALLY EASY to maneuver in comparison to a car with a large hood or trunk. The suspension also matters because if you have something with soft floaty suspension it’s kinda like trying to move around when you can’t really feel your body. Also I have no idea why they put distracting crap like touchscreens in cars now which can really mess you up. Stuff like this makes driving a lot harder but for some reason it never comes up despite it being a safety concern.
(obviously “get a different car” isn’t a really reasonable option but it’s worth keeping stuff like that in mind if you have a choice)
I’m autistic, and so is my brother. But as I’ve said many times before, on any given autistic trait, if one of us has that trait, the other one has the exact opposite. I can’t drive, and should never drive. My brother drives, although his driving style is a little awkward because of dyspraxia. He learned to drive later than most people learned to drive, too: I think he was about 25.
I would actually like to know the basics of how to operate a car. Not because I could or should ever be behind the wheel. But because I can foresee possible emergency situations where being able to operate a car, despite the utter hazard I would be to myself and everyone else on the road, would be less hazardous than not operating the car. (Like if I were stuck in the middle of nowhere during a major crisis situation and needed to get somewhere fast, and the highway was totally deserted.)
Anyway, my reasons for not driving are:
- My visual perception sucks so badly that at times it’s like being functionally blind. At my best, I still often fail to see large moving objects, such as, you know, cars. And pedestrians. And cyclists. At my worst, everything just looks like pixels.
- I’m epileptic. Enough said. (This alone means that I’m not allowed to get a driver’s license.)
- I have autistic catatonia. I don’t think freezing up in the middle of driving would work very well. And even the aspects of autistic catatonia that aren’t as severe as completely freezing, would cause problems for driving.
- I’m not good at multitasking. Driving requires a lot of multitasking. It requires perceiving things, responding to them, directing your body to do all kinds of things at once. Even driving a motorized wheelchair was really exhausting for me for that reason. I can’t imagine driving a large vehicle where any little mistake could cost lives.
I have severe motor and sensory issues associated with autism that, even without the epilepsy, would pretty much make driving impossible. If your motor and sensory and multitasking issues are not as severe, and you’re not epileptic, then you have a greater chance of being able to successfully learn to drive. My brother has mild sensory issues and probably moderate dyspraxia and he’s able to drive okay. The dyspraxia does make it harder for him, though, and you can tell by the way the car moves that he has somewhat awkward motor skills. But it’s not bad enough that he’s a hazard on the road or anything, like I would be. I tell people I’m doing them a favor by staying out from behind the wheel — and it sounds like a joke but I’m 100% serious. I could kill people if I got behind the wheel and I take that extremely seriously. If you think that your driving would be bad enough to cause accidents, then you shouldn’t drive, period.
Snuggle session with Fey earlier today. We’ve either been snuggling or fighting, without much in between, the last few days. Sometimes I wish I knew what she was so mad about.
Yogurt! Finally found a food I can sort of tolerate, as far as my body will tolerate any food.
I’d been binge-eating candy as a result of the steroids I’m on, and then having to drain it all out of my stomach through my g-tube to avoid getting really sick because my stomach is paralyzed and it’s not safe for me to leave food in it. (I either get really sick, or it refluxes up into my lungs and causes pneumonia, or both. This is partially what was responsible for my recent lung infection.)
Anyway, once I was on antibiotics, I started thinking… yogurt. And now I’m eating small amounts of yogurt instead of candy. And it’s working. I still have to drain it out of my stomach, even if it’s as little as four bites. (I actually aspirated from reflux from four bites of yogurt at one point.) But I think some of the probiotics manage to stay in my system anyway despite most of the yogurt being drained out the g-tube, because I feel better after I eat yogurt, unlike after I eat candy.
So I really shouldn’t be eating anything at all. But if I’m going to eat anything, yogurt seems like the safest option. It’s also more liquid and therefore more easily tolerated by my stomach. (By the time I needed a feeding tube, I was on a liquid diet and could tolerate maybe one can of Ensure per day. Which means I can tolerate small amounts of food, just not enough to live on.)
So until I can conquer this steroid-induced desire to eat eat eat eat eat and eat, I am going to try really hard to stick to yogurt or similar foods. (Also, even though I am referring to this as binge eating because of the uncontrollable nature of it, I’m not even eating enough to constitute a meal for most people. Like, if I ate enough to constitute a meal, I’d vomit right away, my stomach doesn’t tolerate that much food, period.)
I was rereading my old Katy books today and cracking up over that rivers game she and Clover play near the beginning. Pisses me off so much that Coolidge made her so boring after the accident. Surely she could have kept her sense of mischief as well as learning to be kind and patient?? What happened to her wild imagination, love of adventure and habit of picking up friends in all places (including an incarcerated thief lol) basically it’s a personality wipe. Not to mention a good dose of the Saintly Cripple although at least she’s not as bad as bloody Cousin Helen, Mary Sue of the century. I still love the books but Coolidge really screwed up her character development. YOUR MAIN CHARACTER CAN CONQUER HER FLAWS WITHOUT TURNING INTO A CARDBOARD SAINT WHOSE WILDEST EXPLOIT IS STARTING AN ANTI-FLIRTING CLUB ok
What amazed me about the whole School Of Pain thing (smooth your forehead out with your fingers so nobody sees you’re in pain, my ass… seriously?) was that nothing has changed. As in, that whole passage could have been in a modern book and it would not have been out of place at all. Our attitudes to disability are literally Victorian in many ways.
For those unaware, we’re talking about a series of books called What Katy Did, written in the Victorian era for children. And there’s this section where the main character becomes disabled, and she doesn’t get out of bed and lies in the dark because the light hurts her eyes and stuff. So her dad makes her permanently-disabled cousin Helen come over and teach her how to be a “good invalid”. That section is really, really hard to read, knowing that people still buy into the same ideas that made that section of the book possible. It’s all about how as an invalid she should make her entire life be for other people, and not show anyone she’s in pain because that just makes people uncomfortable, and do everything for other people and nothing for herself, and not ever feel bad about being disabled even if she’s in severe pain, and etc. etc. etc. it’s just really awful.
The books are available for free online, and if you do a search for “school of pain” or something along those lines you can find that section, if you want to see it in all its horrible glory.
Yes. Absolutely. I first noticed this because I had this necklace that had piano wire and a chime inside it that made the most beautiful, delicate little tinkly noises and it was my favorite stimtoy. But some days it made beautiful delicate little tinkly noises. And other days it was like a loud clattering noise that was completely unbearable.
It was also one of the first times I tried to ask anyone about my sensory issues. I asked a secretary I was helping in the office at my school. She said “I think there’s something very wrong with you,” and that was the last time I told an adult about my sensory issues for years.
It’s not just hearing that can do this. My sense of touch varies from tolerable to even air touching me burns my skin. And my vision (my most sensitive sense of all, and the worst in terms of sensory issues) at its absolute best is teetering on the edge of falling apart, but on other days it’s either fragmented or so pixellated that I’m functionally blind.
Do other autistic people …
Sometimes, I wonder if other autistic people share my experiences. And then I keep my questions to myself. Because that’s how things are. Because I think my questions are weird. Or pointless. Whatever. There’s almost always something.
So, yeah. I created a blog just so I could anonymously ask all the questions I want to my fellow spectrumites. And so you could. And so everybody could. As long as they’re autistic or suspect that they might be.
I wanted to write the submission guidelines before I made the blog public, but it’s hard and I don’t want to wait. Sorry. I’ll try to take care of that soon. In the meantime, just … be nice, okay?
I’ve lost my source of income, and I need some help until I can figure out something else. I’m disabled, mentally ill, and basically alone. My needs are few, but without income, I’m afraid I won’t be able to meet them.
Donate to email@example.com on Paypal if you can afford to. Please make a note that it’s for lichgem, since it’s not my Paypal.
If you can’t afford to help, please signal boost. Thank you.
yea omg…i have a similar confusion surrounding empathy in that i understand what it essentially is and what its function is SUPPOSED to be
i just dont understand why its supposed to be required ???? its literally unneeded. it can be replaced with the person explaining what they feel and why they feel it tbh
bless u fellow autistic person bless all of our bretheren„„
[This post has a tl;dr summary down at the end in bold letters.]
The thing is that the way people’s brains function aren’t that way because there’s a logical reason behind it, or because it couldn’t be done another way. It’s there because it could be done that way, and that’s apparently the first solution evolution came up with. Often there are redundancies in evolution because that’s just how it works: There’s multiple ways to do the same thing, and nothing particularly better about one way over any other way.
I’m an autistic person who experiences extreme empathy, rather than a lack of empathy. And while I’ve found that to be both a good thing and a bad thing (I get overload from people’s emotions the same way I get sensory overload), at its best the advantage is that you don’t have to ask.
You don’t have to go to all the trouble to ask someone what they’re feeling. Which is a difficult thing for me to ask people.
The person doesn’t, themselves, have to know what they’re feeling or why. You just pick up on it. Which saves them the trouble of having to figure out what they’re feeling, and why they’re feeling it, both of which can be hard for people.
And then they don’t have to explain themselves in words, which can also be hard for people.
And then I don’t have to understand their words about feelings, which can also be hard for people.
So I’m glad there’s multiple ways to handle these things. I far prefer being able to sense people’s emotions, rather than having to go through all the language song-and-dance, especially because I have a lot of language processing problems.
Definitely different strokes for different folks. I’m glad there are people who can just have a language-based conversation about it if it’s easier for them to just talk about it. I’m glad there are people where we don’t need to talk because we can read each other just fine without it, because that’s much easier for me than having to do all the language back-and-forth.
I once read an interesting study about autism that I wish I could point people to, because it was fascinating. They were trying to find out which traits were autistic traits and which traits were nonautistic traits. So they had a bunch of people come in who knew a child (or observed a child, I forget which), sometimes an autistic child and sometimes a nonautistic child. And they had them fill out a questionnaire about the traits that child had.
On the questionnaire, the trait would be rated between 1 (not at all like the child) and 3 (very much like the child).
What they expected to find, was that on any given trait, if the nonautistic children scored 1, the autistic children would score 3, and if the autistic children scored 1, the nonautistic children would score 3. Because that would mean that the trait in question was either an autistic trait or a nonautistic trait.
They were very surprised to find that wasn’t the result they got at all.
Instead, what they found was that nonautistic children tended to be rated 2 more often, across the board. Autistic children tended to be rated either 1 or 3, on the same question.
Meaning, it wasn’t that a trait was an “autistic trait” or a “nonautistic trait”. It was that for any given trait, autistic children tended towards the extremes: Either not having it at all, or having it very much. Whereas nonautistic children tended to be somewhere in the middle, less extreme.
So, for instance, with empathy, this makes total sense to me: Nonautistic people tend to have sort of an average level of empathy. Autistic people tend to have either so much empathy that it overwhelms us and causes us emotional overload, or so little that we don’t notice other people’s emotions much at all.
I was so happy to find that study because it verified something I’d noticed between me and my brother for my whole life: My brother, like me, is autistic. but we are absolutely nothing alike. If you take any given autistic trait, he will have one extreme, and I will have the other extreme. And even when we have something in common, if you scratch the surface you’ll still often see it turning out to be us polarizing to different extremes than each other.
Like we are both hyperlexic. But it turns out there’s two major types of hyperlexia. One comes with severe language comprehension impairments growing up, and the other comes with severe visual-spatial-motor impairments growing up. I got the kind with the language comprehension impairments, he got the kind with the visual-spatial-motor impairments.
Similarly, he relies heavily on language and idea-based symbols to understand the world. I have a really hard time with understanding language and idea-based symbols, and rely much more heavily on sensory and pre-sensory modes of understanding things.
And he and I are definitely different on the empathy front. Like most autistic people, we both care about people, we aren’t unfeeling. But I am so hypersensitive to other people’s emotions that I feel like I have to shield myself around other people to avoid drowning in them. And he tends to be more oblivious to other people’s emotions. The only reason that he’s capable of comprehending anything about people’s emotions without asking them first, is that my parents drilled him with flashcards showing people with different emotions on their faces and body language, and he also read a lot of books on how to read body language. Meanwhile, I have found such training useless (not because I read body language perfectly, but because the body language I read is not the same body language nonautistic people read).
So… yeah. It’s not just nonautistic people who need empathy to exist because it’s easier for them, it’s also those of us autistic people who are your polar opposites. Having to verbally discuss everyone’s feelings sounds like the stuff of nightmares to me, but clearly it’s perfect for you, and that’s an exact example of how autistic people tend to polarize one way or the other on any given trait.
tl;dr: Things like empathy don’t exist because they’re the only way to do something, they exist because they’re one way we’ve evolved to do something. Evolution gets redundant like that. Also, autistic people tend to polarize to extremes of each trait, so there are as many autistic people who experience intense empathy as there are autistic people who experience less intense empathy than usual. And for many of us, just knowing how someone is feeling is easier than trying to throw language back and forth about the topic.