Driving With Autism, ADHD, Anxiety and Other Learning Challenges

The Issue
There are several cognitive & learning challenges that can impact learning to drive.


Autism Spectrum




Anxiety Disorder


Other Learning Challenges


Autism Spectrum

The latest CDC statistics show that 1 in 59 children is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, early intervention has shown favorable results in allowing such children to reach learning, communication and social milestones.


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) affects persons of all ages. A child with ADHD may exhibit symptoms that are related to inattention, hyperactivity or impulsivity. Adults tend to exhibit  symptoms such as persistent lateness and forgetfulness, anxiety, procrastination and disorganization.


Anxiety Disorder

There are many underlying reasons for persons to suffer from debilitating anxiety. Mental health issues such as panic, generalized anxiety, phobic and stress disorders can give rise to this condition. Anxiety symptoms can make driving quite difficult. However, this does not mean that driving is impossible.

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The Safer Solution

There are other learning challenges that can affect a person’s ability to drive. At Safer Driver Solutions, we recognize that each of our students is unique with specific needs to be accounted for in their driving instruction.

We provide services to both individuals and clients of physicians or medical centers.

Get the Best Driving Instruction Customized for Your Needs!

Safer Driver Solutions offers the best in specialized driving needs.   We have expert driving instructors who have many years of experience teaching persons with autism, individuals on the spectrum, ADHD, anxiety and other learning challenges.                    We invite you to contact us and find out more about our programs.

 Driving With Learning Challenges

At Safer Driver Solutions, our special programs are developed to meet the unique needs of our students. All students are welcome, including those with an IEP or 504.

We work with each student and their support team. The process includes the development of an Individualized Driver Education Plan (IDEP).

Driving is an important life skill. Work, school, lifestyle, involvement in the community and a feeling of independence. Our primary goal is to give each new driver the opportunity to be an active participant in society.


Age Range:

We serve individuals ages 14 and up who wish to get a driver’s license.


Donations gladly accepted to help us assist individuals who want or need to drive, but don’t have the means.


Funding under 21 - School districts or AEA may assist or pay for driving instruction and classes. SSI: PASS program provides funding for eligible individuals.


Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation may also provide funding.


Insurance companies and Medicaid may pay for Simulation time through two different CPT codes.


Grants and private pay. We do offer payment plans.


Autism Society of Iowa scholarships are available based on need.

Stage 1

Obtaining a Driving Permit

It’s important to get an Iowa Instruction permit before beginning any driving instruction. If students take the Iowa DOT permit test with Safer Driver Solutions, then we will assist in studying for this exam. This online exam can be taken in a calm, quiet testing environment.

Stage 2

Our Virtual Reality (VR) Simulator

At Safer Driver Solutions, we use our VR Simulator to evaluate new clients who either have never driven before, or have limited driving experience. Students will drive in a variety of traffic simulations. These simulations will give us insights that will influence the creation of each student’s IDEP.

Stage 3

Learning to Drive in a Specially Equipped Vehicle

In this phase, our students will learn to drive in a specially equipped vehicle with dual pedals. All of our instructors are certified and are able to provide exceptional instruction. Each lesson will include 60 minutes of driving instruction, as well as 30 minutes of Traffic Safety.


Expected Completion

We recognize that each student learns in their own unique way.

We estimate that driving instruction should take anywhere from 3 to 18 months – depending on each person’s skills.

Instructional Driving Skills Covered

 We instruct on residential driving, intersections, stop lights, right and left turns, all forms of parking, backing up, and 2 lane and 4 lane highways where applicable.
We teach our students how to drive in all weather conditions, during various times of the day: morning, afternoon and night.

  Driving with Autism/ADHD/Anxiety Program


This is an individualized program with specially-designed instruction that works with teens diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum Disorder, as well those students who deal with ADHD, Anxiety and other executive functioning disorders. This program is developed specifically for the enrolled student on teaching the fundamentals of driving a motor vehicle.

The program is a team effort and will include the student, the parents and individuals who support the student as they are introduced to the basic operations of the motor vehicle and how we operate the vehicle in several traffic environments. 

We will provide intensive training in the following sections. We will practice intersections, right and left turns, right turn on red, left turns, how to angle, perpendicular and parallel park, spend time learning the speed limits on the city and residential streets and negotiating entrances and exits onto 2 and 4 lane highways. We will introduce them to travel on the interstate where available and driving in larger metro locations.

This program takes a minimum of 3 months to complete and can go as long as necessary to achieve a license or determine whether a license is achievable.

Program requirements: 30 hours of classroom time (state requirement) This not applicable if new driver is over the age of 18.

Driving Instruction requirements: Each student must drive a minimum of 10 hours with our instructors. No exceptions.                                                     Safety and a thorough Understanding of the Responsibilities of a Driver on the Roadways are a Priority.

Monthly meetings will be held to discuss the goals and progress of the student.

We want all our students to feel comfortable when driving in their communities and continuing to grow and improve as a safe and responsible driver. The state requirements behind-the-wheel are simply not enough.

All our vehicles are lettered and visibly identified as a EDUCATIONAL TRAINING VEHICLE and all of our vehicles have a brake and gas pedal on the instructor’s side (passenger) to assist in the modeling and training of the student.

We have locations to practice all the skills the student will need to be a driver in Iowa.

Student receives 60 minutes of in-car instruction.

Scheduled as based on student/instructor availability.

This program is available anywhere in the State of Iowa.

Safer Driver Solutions is an authorized provider for Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation. Contact your counselor today to set up an intake interview and see if you qualify for financial assistance.

This package can be taken in conjunction with our other Classroom sessions. The driving times would be extended until driving skill proficiency can be achieved.

Please contact me to discuss an appointment to evaluate your student.

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Instructional Driving Skills

Some of the driving skills that we teach include:


Residential driving




Stop lights


Right and left turns


Backing Up


All forms of parking


2 Lane & 4 Lane driving


Interstate driving


Driving With Autism

Within the next decade, approximately 500,000 teens with autism will enter adulthood. Research findings also indicate that having jobs that encourage independence are helpful in reducing the symptoms and improving valuable life skills.

The autism spectrum is wide and there are varying levels of functionality. So it is possible for a person who is high functioning (or an Aspergers person with autism) can learn how to drive a car. Teaching an autistic person to drive means a close collaboration with their Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) team of professionals.

Responsible driving means that the person has to be able to master: vocabulary, predicting, sequencing, turn taking, rote memory, map skills, telephone and telephone book skills, and problem solving. The act of learning to drive can further improve the social skills of autistic persons.

Driving With ADHD

ADHD is one of the most commonly diagnosed disorders in children and appears to be more prevalent among males. It is possible for persons with ADHD to learn how to drive. However, the symptoms of ADHD can lead to increased risk of a collision if they are not managed. Many adults with ADHD struggle when they drive and remedial training can assist those drivers.

Some of the strategies that can help a person with ADHD to drive safely include medication and also being sure to buckle up when driving. We advise removing all sources of possible distraction (such as phones), and also minimize conversations and adjusting the music while driving.

Alcohol should also be avoided as a matter of course. Persons with ADHD also tend to be more affected by low doses of alcohol. Finally, driving a car with a manual transmission is more likely to engage a person with ADHD, thus making them pay more attention to the driving process when they’re behind the wheel.

Driving With Anxiety

The key to learning how to drive with anxiety is to manage the sources of anxiety as much as possible. The unfortunate scenario is that the act of learning to drive can be a source of anxiety. It’s important to identify the sources of fear around the driving experience. While the driving instructor can help with discussing the actual possibility of encountering danger from these sources, further therapy may be necessary. However, we are prepared to work with the recommendations of our student’s therapist to set a driving program that is perfect for them.

Driving With Other Learning Challenges

There are other learning challenges that may affect cognitive abilities to varying degrees. There may be challenges with visual-cognitive, social, and motor skills, as well as learning differences. We understand that each of our students is unique with specific needs to be accounted for in their driving lessons. However, our IDEP will help us to assess their needs and utilize the appropriate training methods.

We provide expert driving solutions for exceptional drivers

Contact us for a free consultation about how we can help you or your healthcare clients get a driver’s license or get you driving again.


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Contact us with any questions you have about Teen, Adult and Exceptional Learner Driving Instruction. We are always scheduling courses in the future, and can come to your location for on-road instruction, Winter Weather and Fleet Driver Safety.