Autistic Driving School
Every teenager wants to drive. It represents a coming of age, a new beginning and the freedom to go wherever you want, whenever you want. Learning to drive is a daunting and stressful experience even for the calmest of individuals, but much more so when you have autism and see the world and understand things very differently to other people. Taking a driving test is something that everyone can relate to - a stressful rite of passage for all young people but even more so for autistic people with low self-confidence and poor social skills.
Learning to drive represents the independence that many autistic people find so difficult to achieve in the rest of their lives - people who cannot cope with crowds, noisy and unreliable public transport or even being looked at by strangers.
The film follows a group of young characters with autism at different stages along the journey towards learning to drive. Stories includes the build up to theory and practical tests and a woman who has passed her test but is too scared to drive on her own.
The characters' families are also introduced and there is comment from the driving instructors who understand the demands of teaching autistic people such an important but difficult skill. Julia Malkin is one of Britain's most decorated driving instructors and one of only two autistic driving instructors in the country. Through her passion for driving Julia has overcome a lifetime of prejudice and bullying. She now specialises in helping other autistic people to learn to drive and wants to inspire people to achieve things in life regardless of their disabilities.
This is a touching and inspiring film which captures autistic people and their families at a pivotal moment in their striving for independence.