A common challenge for women and teenagers who have Turner Syndrome is obtaining a Driver’s License. Cognitive issues related to visual-spatial awareness and executive functioning are often associated with TS. These challenges can make it difficult to learn to drive. While some women are not able to get their driver’s license, many women do despite the challenges they face. Read more below about the common cognitive issues associated with TS, how they make driving more difficult, and tips from women who have TS on how you can overcome them.
Every female who has Turner Syndrome is affected differently, but cognitive issues are common. The strengths and weaknesses of each female will be different, just like all people! Visual-spatial challenges can include things like difficulty assessing distance, difficulty paying attention to tasks, distraction from too much stimuli, difficulty differentiating symbols, and difficulty processing speed. Executive functions that may be impaired include fine motor skills, gross motor skills, visuomotor skills, and response time.
Challenge of getting driver’s license
These visual-spatial and executive functioning challenges can make it difficult for a female who has TS to obtain a driver’s license. Some women have expressed difficulty navigating maps or following directions. Others have challenges with assessing distance, such as the amount of space between cars. Being that women who have TS are typically shorter, cars might need to be modified to ensure clear sight lines. This could include moving the gas pedal, mirrors, or seat. Every woman’s experience driving will be different. It is important to be mindful of these challenges and be patient in overcoming them. You should consult your health care provider to assess the impact of these challenges to determine your eligibility to obtain a driver’s license.
Tips to start driving
We asked women who have TS what tips they would give to others starting to drive. Overall, they emphasized having patience and taking your time to practice. One woman said that while a bigger car was difficult to get used to, it helps her to sit higher so she can see the road and other cars better. Then, give yourself extra space between cars and other hazards on the road. It is also important to adjust your mirrors to your height, and it can be helpful to have a backup camera.
A mom suggested that if your child has TS, get her “driving” as young as possible. She said that things like riding a bike and driving a miniature car helped her daughter to develop her motor skills and visual-spatial skills at a young age. Another woman suggested attending a driving school to get practice with the basics. It is important for the instructor to have patience, breaking down driving into smaller, more manageable tasks. For example, when teaching her to parallel park, she was taught each step individually. It is also helpful to discuss her driving session afterwards. Ask questions about how she felt she did so she can reflect on her skills and what she should focus on next time.
Share any more tips you have in the comments!
Driving can provide independence and a sense of responsibility. Women and teenagers who have TS should assess their eligibility to obtain a driver’s license with the guidance of your health care provider. Remember to have patience and practice often. Do not get discouraged that it might take more time to learn to drive! Once you succeed, you will be proud of your accomplishment. For some who are unable to drive, living near mass transportation is helpful in leading a life of personal autonomy and independence.