He might never get a driver’s license

Yesterday as I was walking with one of our dogs a local driving school’s vehicle went past with a student in the driver’s seat. This happens pretty often since we live in the middle of town and pretty close to the high school and I’ve never really thought much of it, but now I’m actually beginning to recognize some of the faces as kids that Cody has been in school with since kindergarten. On this particular day it suddenly hit me that Cody may never get a driver’s license. As he’s grown up I’ve mostly focused on him as a person, his needs and rights, his strengths, and especially his education. Every now and then these major milestone type things hit me like a ton of bricks, though. Like a punch in the gut that autism is a huge part of our lives and it’s taken so many amazing firsts or life events from us and, especially, from Cody. He’s 16 now, the age when most kids are beginning that journey toward adulthood that includes learning to drive and ultimately acquiring that small card that signifies they have accomplished something big, they now have the privilege of driving a motor vehicle. I remember what it felt like, the feeling of freedom it brought to me that I could take myself anyplace I wanted to go as long as I had insurance, an inspection sticker, and some gas in the tank. I remember my first car. It was a Ford Fairmont. I loved that car and the many memories I have with it packed full of cheerleader pals or sitting close to my boyfriend as he drove us around town. Those are memories I know I took for granted until I recently realized Cody might not realize those sames feelings as I did when I was his age. As his Mom, it’s emotional, sometimes in a crippling way. I’m not going to lie, it hurts like hell to imagine my son not experiencing some of the most incredible life moments that most of us typical folks do.

Although the thought of having a new young driver in the family scares me into possible hyperventilation I asked Cody if he wanted to learn how to drive a car and get a license. I know realistically it would be quite a challenge for him, but I feel he deserves the option just like every other teenager and I’d be willing to fight for request the accommodations necessary in order for him to make an attempt at testing for his driver’s license. I have never allowed his autism to get in the way of what he wants and desires. I truly believe anything is possible. While I was somewhat animated and super positive when I asked him the question, Cody’s response surprised and relieved me at the same time. He looked at me and said No, Mom. I rephrased my question to be sure he understood what I was saying and exactly what I was asking him, sometimes this helps for him to better comprehend what’s being asked of him. I asked if he’d like to learn how to drive and get a driver’s license like Mom and Dad or if he’d like to just ride in the car as a passenger. Again, he answered the same way at as the first time, with no interest in a driver’s license. I’ll admit that I was a bit relieved, much like I’ve always been relieved when he turned down many opportunities to ride roller coasters at amuesment parks, but it also saddens me a little that he may miss out on something truly amazing.

So here I am, a torn Mom. I’m happy to chauffeur my boy wherever he needs to go, forever if necessary, but I’m sad that he might not ever have interest in driving for himself. I’m not sure what’s worse, the fear that would come from sending him off in a car as a new driver or mourning the loss of yet another milestone that might never be achieved.


  1. You’re absolutely right. We don’t really know and appreciate the every day things we do and take for granted.

  2. It seems like Cody was pretty certain when he responded. I wonder if he’d already given it some thought? I understand where you are coming from-a bit of relief that there’s no interest in driving and a bit saddened by the fact that he might not experience this right of passage into adulthood.
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  3. Hi, Cathy!

    I found your blog several days ago (b/c I was searching google for Divacup giveaways :)) & came across this post of yours. My son is on the Autism spectrum as well. However, we are just at the beginning of our journey as he is 5 years old & just starting kindergarten. I really enjoyed reading this post as I can easily put myself in your shoes & see myself writing this very blog someday, when my son is 16. I just wanted to thank you for sharing & I look forward to reading more. Thanks 🙂

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