I first learned about driving through my high school’s driver’s education class. I had to get my permit through my driver education class. I studied everything I learned from the class and took my written test about driving. I aced that test and I got my permit! I knew the facts and information when it comes to driving, but the real lessons of driving were way more difficult to me than I thought. I was determined though because I knew I always wanted to be able to drive.

I had to go through the 6 hours of driving lessons, since it’s required in the state of New Jersey. I first learned to drive through a driving school. I was not an easy student to teach. I recall driving on the opposite side of traffic on the road at first when I was learning. Also, I struggled with merging from one side of the same side of traffic on the road to the adjacent side of the road. Plus, I had a hard time with judging distances of incoming traffic when making turns. On the other hand, I was good with the following: stopping at stops, waiting long enough at stops signs, turning on red when safe to, and following traffic light rules. It was important to me for my school-driving instructor to be as patient with me as possible.

After that, I practiced driving a lot with my parents, especially with my dad most of the time. My parents taught me that driving is like riding a bicycle. I had to start off driving in my community and make my way out into the road. My community was good for me about practicing turns, parallel parking with cones and on sides of the streets, making all kinds of turns, and judging incoming cars. I will never forget the day of my surprise birthday party and my dad made me drive in a really bad thunderstorm to get pizza; I did not know at the time my friends were throwing a surprise birthday party for me.

When the day of my road test came, I was excited and really nervous at the same time. The good news was that I started off driving on the road first, and then made my way inside to do the parallel parking portion of the test. I was fortunate to had a really nice testing instructor that just talked with my calmly and chatted with me about themselves. Because of the really nice testing instructor that I had, along with my improved driving skills, I passed my road test!!! I will never forget how excited my dad was when I called him over the phone to tell him I passed my road test; He screamed in happiness over the phone, talking with the rest of my family at home about it. I was so proud and happy that I earned my driver’s license. My parents provided me with the right push to learn to drive.

Ever since, I drive myself anywhere that I want and/or need to go to, as well as driving my family. I have been driving for a few years now and it has been amazing! I am a cautious driver, making sure of my surroundings of my environment when driving. Parents, educators, and to individuals living with Autism, please encourage and discuss about learning to drive and/or learning about other kinds of transportation. It is part of being an independent individual. Remember to provide the right kind of push necessary for the individual, so think what is best for them to learn and comprehend.

This blog post was originally published on Michelle’s blog Exceptional Shell. More posts like this one can be found by visiting her site!