Not Exactly on Topic, But I'll Start Here

Aug 22, 2016

  1. Bob_The_Insurance_Guy

    Bob_The_Insurance_Guy Guru

    Likes Received:
    As it stands now, in the state of Georgia, if you want a license to drive, you must pass the written test, as well as the road test.

    My son, Ben, is Autistic, and has a comprehension problem, when reading the questions. So, DDS does provide him someone to read the questions. Here's the kicker:
    1. They are only allowed to read the question ONE time
    2. Sometimes they have not articulated the words properly
    3. Other times, they have acted bored, and not read the questions properly

    God Bless my son. He has taken the exam 12 times, and 9 of those times, missed passing by 1 question.

    Visually, Ben does great. I have taken him out, on the road, and he knows when to begin braking, what lane to turn into when entering a divided highway, etc.

    Ben, even though he has not passed it yet, has not gotten discouraged.

    Another issue is noise. The testing area is separated by dividers, but you can still hear:
    • Them calling the next person to a certain window
    • Chatter from the people that stand around the testing areas, even though there are signs that instruct them not to. They also talk near the testing area, but ignore that sign as well.

    Ben is not the only young adult with Autism that is having this problem.

    Since some on the Autism spectrum learn visually, why not put a visual road test on the screen, and have them answer the questions, while looking at the pictures (animated or not) on the screen?

    When I inquired about this during our last visit to the Driver Services, I was told that is not an option. What made me mad was, several weeks ago, as I was sharing this frustration with my barber, who is from Russia, she shared an interesting story.

    When she came to America, knowing very little English, she was handed a cheat sheet to pass the test. In fact, that was the practice for all non-English speakers who immigrated to America. If they can do that for them, then why not go a bit further in accommodating those who learn differently?

    So, here, FINALLY, is my question. And, I raise it in this forum, hoping that some of you Auto Insurance guys and gals may have come across something like this.Question: Who do I start with, in expanding this service to those who learn/retain information visually?

    Do I go to the head of Department of Driver Services (DDS)?
    Do I go to the Insurance Commissioner?
    Do I start with my local state representative?

    I know it's off topic, but I want to do something. If Ben is having this trouble, than I am sure others are as well.

  2. djs

    djs Super Moderator Moderator

    Likes Received:
    Hmmm, good question.
    It has nothing to do with insurance, so I wouldn't bother with the insurance commissioner.

    Local State rep would probably be your best bet. For your son, it might be as simple as a phone call to the right person from the rep. For the problem as a whole, it would take a bit more, probably a piece of legislation, tied to budget allocation, etc. Solve it for your son ;)

    The Dept of Driver Services, which I know nothing about, sounds like the department who has issued the orders that only certain accommodations can be made and they must be applied in a certain way, which clearly isn't making the needed accommodations.

    Depending on where Ben is on the spectrum, you might be able to push some issue with the American Disability Act, which anything government is highly sensitive to.

    Now, the tough question, and I'm sure you've been asked this before..... As a fellow driver on the road, is it safe for Ben who clearly has comprehension problems and is easily distracted by noises...... can he drive safely? Can he keep his wits in that moment of panic?

    I have no issue with him being given accommodations on the test. Heck, the written test has almost nothing to do with your ability to drive. I know others with autism who drive so its very doable.

    You don't have to answer me if you feel its safe for him to drive. You clearly feel it is, or you wouldn't be asking this question. The representative you call will have this question and if he doesn't ask it outloud, he isn't going to do much for you. You need to be clear that it is a problem with the written test, not with driving itself.

    djs, Aug 23, 2016
  3. xrac

    xrac Guru

    Likes Received:
    Dan is right as usual. I would start with local state rep. If that didn't work I would go the disability route.
    xrac, Aug 23, 2016
  4. BlockO

    BlockO Guru

    Likes Received:

    I forwarded your question to a friend who knows a lot about autism.... not only does she have a son that is autistic (although he's not quite driving age yet), but she is also a nurse.... she recommended checking out three websites, which I will copy and paste. hope this helps....

    -American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)
    The American Association of People with Disabilities, the country's largest cross-disability membership organization, organizes the disability community to be a powerful voice for change – politically, economically, and socially. AAPD was founded in 1995 to help unite the diverse community of people with disabilities, including their family, friends and supporters, and to be a national voice for change in implementing the goals of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). For more information please visit AAPD - AAPD.

    -Americans With Disabilities Act
    The Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, provides comprehensive civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities in the areas of employment, public accommodations, state and local government services and telecommunications.

    -Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities
    The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities is a coalition of approximately 100 national disability organizations working together to advocate for national public policy that ensures the self determination, independence, empowerment, integration and inclusion of children and adults with disabilities in all aspects of society. For more information please visit CONSORTIUM FOR CITIZENS WITH DISABILITIES.
    BlockO, Aug 31, 2016