Research to support young drivers with autism

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Research to support young drivers with autism

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Published on 30 July 2015

Researchers from the University of the Sunshine Coast are seeking young drivers who have been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their parents to participate in a road safety study.

Psychology Honours student Clara Silvi, 25, is researching the experiences of young drivers with ASD in the hope of improving their mobility.

“At the moment we don’t know much about how drivers with ASD progress through the licencing system and whether they face unique challenges or difficulties in doing so,” Clara said.

“We are hoping that by asking young drivers with ASD to share their experiences we can identify any support measures that could be put in place to help alleviate that.”

Clara is seeking people aged 16 to 24 years with a clinical diagnosis of ASD and who have a driver’s licence to participate in a short online survey and brief interview.
 
The licence can be a learner’s, provisional (red or green) or open licence, and drivers’ parents or legal guardians are encouraged to also take part in this research.

The research is being supervised by Dr Bridie Scott-Parker, leader of USC’s Adolescent Risk Research Unit. Dr Scott-Parker said the aim of the project was to support more young people to obtain their driver’s licence.

“Having a driver’s licence can give you access to educational experiences, employment and socialising that you might not be able to participate in if you didn’t have one,” she said.
 
“It can also be an important form of identification, for example when you are applying for a loan or obtaining a passport. If we can draw on the experiences of the community to identify potential barriers and help alleviate them, that’s a great outcome.”

For more information or to participate in the study email Clara Silvi at c_s133@student.usc.edu.au.

— Jarna Baudinette

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