My 16-year-old son wanted to take his driver’s test. On paper, he looked ready to do it. He took his Driver’s Ed class, had his learner’s permit for over a year, and was 16 (and 3 months) old.
What 16-year-old boy doesn’t want to drive, right? Society says he is ready, so I went with the flow and away we went to the test. I had faith he could do it, but I also know that when you have a disability that affects your ability to focus your attention, it is even harder to concentrate when there are a lot of distractions. Honestly, I am not sure any 16-year-old has the level of maturity it takes to be a “safe driver.”
My son drove us to the DPS office. On the way, I thought to myself, "If I were the tester, I would fail him."
He was not paying enough attention and probably was worried about the test. He definitely was not doing his best driving. Just think how hard it is for a child who has ADHD to focus in a classroom, let alone on a road with tons of signs to read, other drivers to watch, and pedestrians.
I knew in my heart that he wasn’t ready, so when he and the DPS driving tester pulled back into the parking lot 5 minutes after they left, I knew why. I was worried about how he would feel and how it would break his heart. He came over to me, smiled and said, “I’ll get it next time.”
So, off we went.
He drove home with his learner’s permit and I rode quietly next to him, thankful that he was okay. I knew that a few more months of practice and maturation would be beneficial, and if he failed again, it would be okay then, too. Eventually, he will get it. But how great it would be if the law were changed to age 18 before he could get his driver’s license.
Transitioning to adulthood brings big changes. Learn more about helping your child reach independence.
Before I had my son, I was a special education teacher. I was one of those teachers who believed that these "special" kids needed to be kept safe. After teaching in a self-contained special education class, my views slowly started to change.
Children grow up having dreams—dreams of being a princess or a football player or a doctor or a teacher. They have so many dreams. The world is their oyster. When your child has a disability, those dreams are different.