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Could my driving problems be down to dyspraxia?

Posted: Fri Aug 01, 2014 9:49 am
by Knäckebröd
Hi everybody!

My name is Amanda and I am 29. I do not have a diagnosis of dyspraxia, but my recent "adventures" with driving have lead me to consider it a distinct possibility.

I'm not really sure where to start...I have always had pretty terrible spatial awareness and coordination issues ( my mum used to call me the human dodgem and the runner who looks like she is loosing her trousers when I was small). I seem to be magnetically attracted to walls, door handles, people, my poor cats, expensive objects on shelves in stores...etc. Because of those issues I never really dared to get behind the wheel of a car (I didn't and still don't trust myself not to be a danger to myself and others because I might "miss" something and hit someone/something). I have always felt like I react three seconds after seeing something. Like there is a lag in my brain and that has scared me out of driving. 3 years ago I bit the bullet and started with lessons and it has been on and off ever since. I do get really stressed out and had put all my problems down to anxiety (which I have had life long battles with...but is now somewhat under control), but now I'm wondering if it isn't Dyspraxia?

It took me I don't know how many hours of lessons and private diving to get my head around using the clutch and I'm still not 100% with it. I just couldn't seem to get it into my head when to let go of it and how to get it to the bite. I have quite a few issues with the gears. I am ALWAYS putting in the wrong gear...when I go to change gear the gear box kind of reverses in my mind and I put it in 4th instead of third or 1st instead of 2nd and so on. I also like to get it into 3rd instead of 1st. It doesn't seem to matter how many times I practice and how much I know where the gears are, how many diagrams I look at or how the gear box works I still get it wrong and it is sooooo frustrating!

I also have problems knowing which gear to be in...especially coming into roundabouts and junctions. I never seem to be able to judge the speed quite right. If I'm coming in slowly I will usually slow down too early and too much, but if I am coming in a little faster I slow down too late and too hard. I never seem to get it right and it is very hit and miss. I have real issues with multitasking and can't cope when driving instructors give me new things to think about, especially when I haven't got my head around the more basic things like steering and gears. I get overwhelmed very easily and very stressed. I have difficulty making decisions and planning ahead. Every instructor I have had has hammered on and on about planning, but I never seem to get all the steps right...there are just too many and I get overwhelmed and can only concentrate on certain steps. I get myself into situations that I can't work out how to get out of, especially if it involves manoeuvring the car. I have trouble reversing and can't get the steering right. I often try to turn the wheel the wrong way. I struggle with turning it fast enough and can't grip it right. My poor husband tried to show a way of turning the wheel the other day and I just couldn't do it...I could't translate what he was saying and demonstrating to the right movement on the wheel, my hands just wouldn't replicate it (I did get there eventually after we both started laughing with the absurdity of it!!). I forget where I am going sometimes too, especially if I have to slow down for a pedestrian crossing or make changes in my driving. Seems to knock the original thought of where I am going out of my head and I just keep going straight.

I am also terribly hit and miss (which has made many driving instructors mad). Sometimes I can reverse around a corner fine and other times I'm up a curb or turning the wheels the wrong way. Sometimes I can position myself correctly in a roundabout and sometimes I am all over the place. There doesn't seem to be any logic to it and it is very frustrating! In the beginning I would break down and cry a lot, but a really good instructor who sadly quit got things going for me with lots of patience and getting me relaxed enough to be able to think without stress and take in information. Since then progress has been slow. I get a lot of criticism for just staring straight ahead and not moving my head enough and also for stupid trying to drive up the wrong side of the road in a crossing (albeit my instructor had REALLY got me stressed out - but I couldn't see why I shouldn't drive up the left side of the road) and signalling left instead of right...and also going left, but thinking I am going right (which is a problem in Sweden where I live!!).

I am just trying so hard, but only making snails progress. I have had something like 30 lessons and god knows how many hours driving with my husband...must be at least 40 hours...Just wish it was easier. I just feel so stupid and so stressed...why can't I get this? Is there something hindering me or am I just not cut out for driving? What can I do to make things easier? Would it be worth getting assessed for Dyspraxia or is that in itself a hindrance? Sorry about the long post and the many questions!

Thanks for reading,

Amanda :)

Re: Could my driving problems be down to dyspraxia?

Posted: Sat Aug 02, 2014 8:22 am
by Jim
Hi there,

Going by your post and without wishing to be rude I'd suggest that you're simply not cut out for driving. The main reason being for the stress and anxiety it causes you, and the fact that you're struggling to put the theory that you've so ably described into practice and making the same mistakes over and over. It's simply no good being stressed and anxious behind the wheel.

We're not qualified here to diagnose, but many of the symptoms you describe are common to Dyspraxia. That being said, dyspraxia in itself doesn't have to exclude you from driving, as many Dyspraxics cope perfectly well with driving.

The questions to ask yourself are why do you want to drive? Followed by, do you need to?

If you don't need to, then you may well be better of not doing it, as the ability to drive is only a tiny factor in independence and there are plenty of other ways of transport and commuting.

Re: Could my driving problems be down to dyspraxia?

Posted: Thu Aug 21, 2014 8:13 am
by grahambeament
I am dyspraxic and i found driving so hard. It took me 3 attempts but eventually passed.
I only drive automatic as a manual was proving extremely stressful but i have been driving for 3 years now and have never looked back.
Contact BSM i did my lessons with them and tell them you are dyspraxic, they have instructors that teach people with learning disablilties

Re: Could my driving problems be down to dyspraxia?

Posted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 10:25 am
by aaronhaggart
i am dyspraxic it took me 4 attempts to pass, all though i passed in a manual car, which proved a lot harder than i thought it would be. i passed last year and i am 25 good luck with it