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Intensive Driving Courses – Learning Difficulties

BIG TOM Driving School provides Intensive Driving Courses in Peterborough, Grantham, Sleaford, Spalding, Stamford and Bourne (0800 689 4174). This blog looks at how a pupil with a learning difficulty is affected when learning to drive. In particular, this blog expands on dyslexia, what it is and how it affects pupils.

Dyslexia is what is termed as a “specific” learning difficulty, as is Dyspraxia, Autism, Dyscalculia and ADHD. It is a neurological learning difference. The word dyslexia itself has two roots, “difficulty” and “words or language”.   It is hereditary and currently untreatable. Whilst it is not guaranteed to affect all members of a family through the generations, it is currently estimated that 1 in 10 of the population is dyslexic. Whilst the term dyslexia has a rather negative feel about it as it is describing a difficulty, many dyslexics are very creative thinkers and it is widely recognised that this characteristic can be very much a positive distinction.

People with Dyslexia will have dominant right brain activity which is somewhat of a flaw when it comes to processing words and language as that is predominantly a left sided brain activity. However, as there is a need for continual exchange of processing words and language between the left and right side of the brain, a dyslexic will have some difficulty with that exchange. A dyslexic person in general terms will not favour learning by hearing so on our intensive driving courses we make a point of favouring visual and kinaesthetic learning styles. Here are some typical characteristics that can be encountered, it is not intended to be a comprehensive list:

  • Whilst long term memory is very good, short term memory can be poor. Remembering sequences, orders of numbers or letters, and times/dates can be troublesome. As such, we don’t make excessive use of tight structure when learning driving actions and sequences.
  • Reading may not be a strong point, so we can provide an alternative study aid for the theory test study that provides an alternative to reading from books or computers.
  • Spelling can be a challenge, as such whenever we ask a pupil to reflect on their learning progress so far, we would favour verbal reflection rather than written. We specifically do not make judgement or criticize any spelling errors that might surface on the course.
  • Motor skills can cause difficulty – co-ordination of hand control, multi-tasking between hands and feet driving actions. Handwriting, use of the gear lever, signal and wiper controls can all be challenging and is best managed with bucket loads of patience from the driving instructor.
  • “Visual stress” is something that we take into account whenever we show a pupil anything in the in-car training on our intensive driving courses. We pay attention to colours and font styles.

One of the key goals that we strive to achieve on our intensive driving courses is to build a relationship with our pupil where honest, open communication is encouraged. Whilst it is generally recognised that not all children and young adults will necessarily be aware of having dyslexia, there will be a need to be taught differently, so it is essential to develop a relationship where the trust and respect between instructor and pupil enables the necessary adaptions to be made. It is reasonable to expect there to be a longer period of time required to learn to drive, and having this open channel of communication assists in keeping the learning environment calm, stress free and positive.

At BIG TOM Driving School we have experience of teaching pupils with a range of specific learning difficulties and recognise there is often overlap between them, as well as teaching profoundly deaf and deaf-mute pupils.

BIG TOM Driving School Intensive Driving Courses in Peterborough, Grantham, Spalding, Stamford FREEPHONE 0800 689 4174