Assisting people with disabilities with their mobility needs.

April 2nd was World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD). 

The yearly event rolls into Autism Awareness month and aims to put a spotlight on the hurdles that people with autism – and others living with autism – face every day. As a growing global health issue owing to its increasing exposure in the press and common knowledge, autism is an issue that is only gaining more understanding – and WAAD activities are planned every year to further increase and develop world knowledge of children and adults who have autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

There are multiple reasons why this is a subject close to my heart:

  1. At Williams OT, we assist people with Autism to get their driver’s licence and get great joy watching our clients achieve something that gives them independence and freedom, and
  2. My son has recently been diagnosed with Autism.

As a parent, all I want is the best for my children. When our third child began to walk and talk we noted some compulsive tendencies and concrete behaviours. Thinking that they were odd little quirks, we learned to live with them. However as he came to school age, we knew that something was not quite right. His ability to react and make friends as lacking. His ability to read our emotions was also reduced. And the compulsive behaviours had increased.

At Williams OT we have been on the other side, assisting clients coming through the NDIS stream to gain their licence. Now the shoe is on the other foot. Now we are off to Centrelink (Oh, My Gosh! What a nightmare that is) and booking in for NDIS assessments.

As a parent, I am yet to have to teach my son to drive (but I hope that he will have a pretty good chance of getting through when the chance comes  😉 ). As occupational therapists trained as driving instructors, we understand the difficulties faced by drivers when they are dealing with the functional limitations of autism. Yet, we also understand the positives. Our driving instructors have had advanced training on how to assist clients with autism, and one instructor specialises in this area as he too has a son with autism. We are empathetic and considerate and reduce anxiety in the car to assist our drivers. At Williams OT we understand the difficulties associated with autism which can include:

  1. Instructions can be taken very literally – “go straight ahead at the roundabout can result in an adventurous course over the garden bed in the middle of the roundabout.
  2. Perception of dangers can be reduced and merging into traffic can be dangerous if the driver follows the step by step procedure without understanding the emerging hazards.
  3. Becoming distracted by objects can take concentration off the road.
  4. And anxiety can be a significant hurdle.

But what we love more than identifying the issues is enhancing the positives. We found this chart online and have it posted up to remind us of how we can help our drivers that present on the spectrum.


However, the main point of this April blog post was to point you in the direction of


If you are looking for some great resources to help understand the impact of autism on the art and skills required for driving, I have listed some very useful links below.

  • If you would like the perspective of a couple of drivers (and not the parents perspective) that have been or are going through the process of learning to drive with autism, then we have found some great posts here
  • And another great resource to assist a driver with autism understand if driving is right for them is It will help drivers understand some of the difficulties that may be faced when learning to drive and what process you will need to go through to get your learners.

If you know someone who is on the autism spectrum and wants to learn how to drive,  or you have a client with autism, Williams Occupational Therapy may be able to help. If you want to know how Williams OT could help you with driving, give us a call on 0466 529 891, or write us an email at