Andrew Arboe, a 25-year-old Connecticut resident with autism, appreciates the importance of having a driver’s license in order to be socially active, as well as the challenges of being a driver on the autism spectrum. A new autism program at the Next Street Driving School exists thanks to Arboe, who reached out to the school’s management and told them he could help diversify their teaching methods.
Arboe now leads free classes that are part of The Next Street’s Driver Rehab Services, sharing information with parents and adults about driving with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The rehab services program helps drivers evaluate issues after medical changes, and helps those who require adaptive driving equipment.
Arboe understands the role driving plays ensuring independence and a high quality of life.
“You have to get to places,” he said. “It helps with quality of living, you can actually get to school, drive to your job.”
Joan Cramer, a certified driver rehabilitation specialist who works with people on the spectrum, believes The Next Street’s program could potentially open doors for many people with autism academically.
“Individuals are able to get to college, a college of their choice versus one that’s on a bus line that might not meet their desire or goal to study a certain program,” Cramer said.
When it comes to Next Street’s Driving With Autism presentations, Cramer says that “my excitement is beyond words.”