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Parenting a New Driver with ASD

Posted by Brandon Dufour on Jan 22, 2021 9:55:24 AM

Perhaps your young adult is asking you about driving, but you aren't quite ready. Or perhaps you desperately want your son or daughter to begin driving, but they have no interest. Driving for a neurotypical teen causes stress and fear in families. Autism adds another layer of complexity. 

For any parent of a new driver, the most important thing at the start is auditing your own driving behavior. Your young adult is watching your every move. If you are texting while you drive, you are signaling that it is ok to text while you drive. If you are going 100MPH on the highway (or worse, a back road), you are signaling that it is ok for your new driver to do the same. Your first step is cleaning up your own driving behavior. 

In nearly every State in America, a new driver must obtain a Learner's Permit to begin training behind the wheel. But before the permit, there's a lot that you can do from the passenger seat, especially for a new driver with Autism Spectrum Disorder. When the topic of driving comes up, have your young adult sit in the front passenger seat. Do not allow them to be on a phone or a gaming device. Engage them in driving. As an example, ask your new driver to give you directions on how to get home. Ask them to verbalize what they see around them and how they would handle it if they were driving. 

Aside from your own driving behaviors and passenger seat coaching, the other important thing to consider is your tone of support. Maintain a positive line of communication and be their support system. Adding stress or anxiety to this already stressful time isn't good for anyone involved. 

If your young adult is considering driving, but needs some help with motivation, consider signing up for our 6-part webinar series on Driving With ASD or scheduling a Free One on One Consulting Call with one of our Transitions Coordinators

Good luck!

Topics: Parents, autism

Learn More About These Tips 

Talk to your family and friends about safe driving habits, and if you're without a driver's license, consider choosing one of our programs. They are easy and stress free! 


  • Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens
  • Car crashes are preventable
  • Discussing safe driving habits with family and friends will help spread awareness