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Teens with autism should have goals for learning to drive: study

January 11, 2012

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Philadelphia – Parents and educators should create goals for teens with high-functioning autism who are driving or plan to learn to drive, according to recommendations from a study conducted by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Center for Child Injury Prevention.

Researchers surveyed nearly 300 parents of teens with high-functioning autism spectrum disorders – which include behavioral, motor skill and coordination impairments – on how they plan to teach their teens to drive. According to a press release accompanying the report, diagnoses for autism spectrum disorders have increased in the past decade, and little research has been conducted on how this population learns to drive.

Twelve percent of these teens who are driving have received driving citations and 12 percent have been involved in a motor vehicle crash, according to the study abstract. Researchers also found that driving goals were not included in the teens’ individualized education plans, which are parent-educator programs mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to assist these individuals with educational and life goals.

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