Training the Motor Aspects of Pre-driving Skills of Young Adults With and Without Autism Spectrum Disorder

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the utility of using a driving simulator to address the motor aspects of pre-driving skills with young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). A group of neurotypical control participants and ten participants with ASD completed 18 interactive steering and pedal exercises with the goal to achieve error-free performance. Most participants were able to achieve this goal within five trials for all exercises except for the two most difficult ones. Minimal performance differences were observed between the two groups. Participants with ASD needed more time to complete the tasks. Overall, the interactive exercises and the process used worked well to address motor related aspects of pre-driving skills in young adults with ASD.

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Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank Christ Church Episcopal School in Greenville, SC for their generous support to host the researchers for several months during data collection and to encourage their students to take part in our research. Thanks to Ken Melnrick from DriveSafety for his technical support with the CDS-250 driving simulator, to Miriam Monahan for her training session with the team, as well as to Mic Anderson and Joe Manganelli for their support during data collections and analyses. Furthermore, the authors would like to thank Kara Schulte-Holierhoek for her valuable feedback as pilot participant and Diann Tinsley for her support in administrative and logistical affairs.

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Correspondence to Johnell Brooks.

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Brooks, J., Kellett, J., Seeanner, J. et al. Training the Motor Aspects of Pre-driving Skills of Young Adults With and Without Autism Spectrum Disorder. J Autism Dev Disord 46, 2408–2426 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-016-2775-8

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Keywords

  • Driving simulator
  • Pre-driving skills
  • Driver training
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Motor skills