Driver’s Education

Test taking is difficult for Marie, but there can be no modifications on a state driving test.  Nor should there be.  It just wouldn’t seem right—even for special needs students.  Marie is on her own.

I was all excited about Marie learning to drive.  Yes!  One less person to chauffeur around.  Who knows?  Eventually, she could help me chauffeur her siblings to sports practices, dance lessons, or music events.  I was psyched!

I’d ask Marie daily how Driver’s Ed was going—to the exclusion of her other courses.  She’d answer as she always does, “Fine.”  But I was in my dream world.  My first daughter is going to drive, I repeatedly told myself.  In fact, I bragged to my entire family.  My dad even bought Marie a bumper sticker:

“If you don’t like my driving, stay off the sidewalk!”

I laughed.  I praised her.  My first daughter won’t be bugging me to take her places anymore.  She, in fact, will be able to help me take others.  I was in Heaven.

And then I woke up.  Class test grades filtered in for this 23-day course, and reality clouded my days.  Marie wasn’t going to pass the state test unless I studied nonstop with her.  And even then we are never sure.  My excitement about having assistance with chauffeuring children started to fade.

I hammered away at the notes, reading to Marie, having her actually look at the terms to be able to recognize them when she saw them on a test.  Each night we would both end a session of studying with tears.

This is NOT the way to study with a special needs child.  No matter what YOU want, some things are not to be.  Marie failed the test by 4 points, which is pretty good for her.  I told her we could study again and she could retake the written test in the summer.  She didn’t look interested.  At all.  My husband tried to get me to see.  At this time, Marie is not interested in driving.  I realized he was correct.  And then I cried myself to sleep.


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4 thoughts on “Driver’s Education

  1. My son failed the written portion of his drivers test the first time also. He retook it a few days later and passed. The first time he took it with a group of about 30 kids, he doesn’t do well in that type of setting because he starts feeling rushed when other kids finish before him so he hurries and often that mean he makes careless mistakes.

    When he retook the test it was with just a couple of other kids who had also failed and the teacher. The teacher let them ask questions. He didn’t give them answers but did coach them and helped them reason why one answer is better than the rest. He did much better in that environment.

    He has a year of driving on a permit with us ahead of him. Hopefully he can learn and pass the driving portion of the test when the time comes.

    I don’t know if it is possible where your daughter took drivers ed, but maybe contact them to see if they will let her retake it with a little assistance like my son got.

  2. Thank you so much for reading my blog post.

    Wonderful news that your son passed the test. Marie also becomes flustered when taking tests in large groups. But even being in Special Ed. didn’t allow her to take the test elsewhere. In New Jersey, students must take the state test with a certified Driver’s Ed. teacher.

    My current trouble is that Marie doesn’t want to take the test again. To her, it is just one less test to worry about. She’s immature, and since she can get everywhere she needs to be, she has no interest in driving. I’ll have to wait and pray.

    Thanks again for reading my blog post. Please stop by again.

  3. Well if she’s not ready then I guess I wouldn’t push it. My son initially said he didn’t want to take drivers ed but I made him because I wanted him to have a permit for a very long time before he was turned loose on the roads by himself. He makes me nervous when he drives but honestly it isn’t as bad as I thought it would be and he gets better every time.

    Also, he had to take the test with a certified drivers ed instructor as well. Just the first time he took the test the class was full because it was the class right before the school year started and everyone was trying to get it over with before going back to school. There were at least 30 kids and 4 instructors. He had to take the test in the classroom with all those kids. When he failed it he had to go back to the drivers ed school to retake the test but there were only 3 or 4 kids there (the other ones who had failed) so he took it in a much smaller group and I think he felt less intimidated because they had all failed once too! The instructor (who was a certified drivers ed teacher…he was actually a cop) sat in the room with them and let them ask questions if they needed to (he said he didn’t ask any though).

    • I am sorry for responding to this comment so late. I have been up to my eyebrows in other work.

      I didn’t know that taking the written driver’s test at a driver’s ed school would afford Marie an instructor to whom she may be able to ask questions. The smaller group would have helped her too, but Marie struggles with comprehension of the written word. Who knows, I might be able to get Marie to study and retake the written test yet. Here’s hoping.

      Thank you again for reading my blog post.

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