Study Asks Adults with Autism About Driving Experiences

drivingDrexel University, Philadelphia –  In a pilot study, researches at Drexel University asked adults on the autism spectrum about their driving experiences.

Researchers say that this study’s findings will help  identify whether this population have unmet needs for educational support to empower a safe driving experience.

Study co-author Maria Schultheis, PhD, an associate professor of psychology at Drexel said in the Drexel Now article:

“Previous research in my lab has included extensive research in driving capacity with people who have a variety of conditions such as multiple sclerosis or who had experienced traumatic brain injury,”

She gos on to add that asking  what problems these individuals are having on the road, in their real-world experience,  is pivotal in helping to both shape and  inform the goals of long-term research.

“– and is especially important when we turn to look at a developmental difference like autism, where there has been too little research to establish yet whether widespread driving difficulties exist.”

There have only been a  few studies that look at the  driving ability in individuals with autism. These studies however focused on new drivers and adolescents, rather than experienced drivers.

The new Drexel study, published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders,  has been extensively used in driving research. The study asked participants to describe their first-hand, real-world driving experiences.

In this survey, adults with autism spectrum disorders reported learning to drive later in life and driving less frequently when compared to non-autistic adults.

Daly said.

“It suggests that the challenges these individuals are facing are more global than specific,”

The original article  by Rachel Ewing on the Drexel Now website can be read here

Rachel Ewing
Rachel Ewing