Learning to drive a car is not just a rite of passage into adulthood, it’s also a vital necessity in today’s life for many in communities with limited public transportation. Individuals with Asperger’s or other high functioning autism diagnoses can learn to safely drive a car – they just need a little extra attention.
For teens and young adults with high-functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnoses including Asperger’s Syndrome, ADD/ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and PDD (Pervasive Developmental Disorder), as well as those with other learning disabilities including dyslexia, learning all the skills necessary to get a driver’s license and have the confidence to be a safe driver may seem insurmountable. Most driving schools either aren’t willing or aren’t equipped to properly train an ASD student.
Mike Mercadante is our instructor specializing in autism services. He has helped dozens of autistic teens and young adults become safe, defensive drivers. He is constantly assessing the latest research and best practices recommendations and applying them to the unique challenges presented by operating a car in traffic. He attends special educational workshops for professionals and consult with a variety of specialists, including researchers and medical experts. He is currently completing his Master’s degree in Psychology.
We begin with a free consultation and initial skills assessment, conducted with the student and parents. We’ll review the student’s current medications for potential driver impairments and may recommend follow-up visits with pharmacists, physicians, eye doctors or other specialists. We’ll recommend a custom training course, perhaps combining simulator time and classroom programs with behind the wheel training in our dual-controlled cars.
If the student is a Pennsylvania resident over the age of 18, and a driver’s license is that critical step toward getting a job, then the PA Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) may be able to help pay for our services. We are an approved vendor with PA OVR.
The PA Autism services mini-grants are currently accepting applications! To learn more, visit the Bureau of Autism Services’ website.
To schedule your free autism consultation, please click the enroll button below. Our instructor will call you to schedule your appointment.
We’re also proud to support the Center for Autism Research at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. We encourage you to visit their site and sign up for the autismMatch program. The goal of autismMatch is to connect families and individuals living with autism with researchers who are seeking the answers. Learn more by visiting autismMatch.