Dr. Temple Grandin: Practice Prior to Drivers Ed

AS101 Driving with Autism

Though driving with an Autism diagnosis is not for everyone, many do decide to obtain their driver license and go on to live independent lives. Aspergers101 teamed with Dr. Temple Grandin to provide helpful information when considering if driving is for you, or your teen.

Long before driver education, Temple suggests first mastering your skills by practicing on a bicycle (coordination, motor skills). Then tackle driving in a safe remote area such as the country or large parking lot. You’ll begin mastering such challenging tasks, such as multi-tasking, prior to any driving on congested roadways.

One suggestion she has is that before you take a driver education course, you need to find a safe place and practice, and after that, practice even more! Getting the ‘knack’ of driving includes working on your coordination, motor skills, and multi-tasking which all come into play when learning to drive, even more so for those on the autism spectrum.

Anxiety can often be reduced (for the driver with Autism) by lots of driving practice in a safe remote location.  

– Dr. Temple Grandin

Once you’ve mastered working the brake, blinker, gas and other essential tasks while driving, you’ll then be ready to be thrown into a group/driver education training.

Sign the Petition!

Option to place an alert system in TLETS (Texas Law Enforcement Telecommunication System) protecting both law enforcement and those with autism, hearing impairment or other communication challenges.

Aspergers101 “Driving with Autism” spokesperson Samuel Allen

Aspergers101 is striving to continue improving communication between Texas law enforcement and those with a communication challenge such as autism or a hearing impairment in the “Driving with Autism and other communication impairments” Texas initiative. Make “Communication Impairment” an option when registering your vehicle with the Texas DMV. This will allow your diagnosis to be placed in The Texas Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (TLETS) alerting the officer of the challenge prior to approaching the vehicle, averting misunderstandings.  We need signatures to help make this bill pass! Please sign the petition by clicking on the button here:)

Here is the fearful scenario: A person with Asperger Syndrome is driving and gets pulled over by an officer of the law. The stress and panic intensifies as the officer begins dialogue. This stress esulates and the officer asks the driver why are they ‘flying’ down the highway at such a great speed? Of course, the person with Asperger Syndrome takes this literally and the encounter soon takes a preventable turn toward arrest. You may plug in any of the communication challenges from below and come to the same conclusion as recent news reports dictates.

To better equip law enforcement with the knowledge of the challenge PRIOR TO approaching the vehicle is the solution. By allowing the option, when registering your vehicle with the Department of motor Vehicles as a person with a communication impairment (sub category Autism, Asperger Syndrome, Hearing Impairment, Deafness, Parkinson’s Disease, etc) an officer of the law would be alerted when entering the license plate ina pull over scenario. It’s a win-win-win however, we need to pass a bill in the upcoming 86th Texas Legislative Session to make this a reality!

  • What constitutes a Communication Impairment? Some diagnosis are:
    • Asperger Syndrome
    • Autism
    • Deafness
    • Hearing Impaired
    • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
    • Parkinson’s Disease
    • Mild Intellectual Disability
    • Down Syndrome
    • Mutism and more.

Please sign the petition and then share with your friends, neighbors or anyone on your social media lists by clicking on the button:

Our intention is to complete and successfully navigate the Driving with Autism initiative in Texas, and then share with the rest of the country! Let’s work together to protect and improve communication between law enforcement and those with Autism or other communication challenges. We will keep you posted!

Thank you for your support in making a difference in the lives of those with Asperger Syndrome!

by: Jennifer Allen/Founder Aspergers101 and the “Driving with Autism” Texas initiative.

Asperger Fact Sheet

by AANE Staff

We thought this a great basic overview (reference sheet) of Asperger Syndrome compiled by the staff at the Asperger/Autism Network. Nice to share if you or someone you know suspects autism.

About Asperger Syndrome:

  • It is a neurological condition that affects the way information is processed in the brain.
  • AS is a hidden disability. Many people appear very competent, but they have difficulties in the areas of communication and social interaction.
  • AS has a genetic and hereditary component and may have additional interactive environmental causes, as yet unknown.
  • AS is a developmental disability. All individuals have social/emotional delays, but continued growth seems to be life-long.
  • The incidence of AS is thought to be 1 in 250. As many as 50% of people with AS may be undiagnosed.
  • There are currently four males diagnosed with AS for every one female, but the true ratio may be as high as one female for every two males.

AS affects each person differently, although there is a core set of features that most people with AS have, to different extents, including:

  • Having a very high intelligence and good verbal skills.
  • Having challenges with the use and understanding of language in social contexts.
  • Having trouble understanding what others are thinking and feeling (called Theory of Mind or perspective taking).
  • Needing to be taught social behavior that is “picked up on” intuitively by others.
  • Having difficulty understanding non-verbal cues such as hand movements, facial expressions, and tones of voice.
  • Facing challenges with organization, initiation, prioritizing – considered executive functioning tasks.
  • Focusing on small details rather than on the bigger picture
  • Demonstrating intense interest areas such as movies, geography, history, math, physics, cars, horses, dogs or reptiles. These interest areas change every 3 months to several years
  • Building friendships through mutual interest areas or activities.
  • Viewing the world in black and white, with difficulty compromising or seeing gray areas.
  • Feeling different, like aliens in our world.
  • Sometimes experiencing anxiety and/or depression.
  • Sometimes experiencing extreme and debilitating hyper- or hypo-sensitivity to light, noise, touch, taste, or smell. The environment can have a profound impact on their abilities to function.


Other elements and traits some individuals with AS have:

  • Eye contact can be difficult, sometimes painful,  and usually distracting (or if taught poorly, some individuals may stare).
  • Some people with AS are clumsy, most have poor fine motor skills; although some excel in individual sports.
  • Some individuals with AS have additional diagnoses, such as ADD, bi-polar, OCD.
  • Some have superior skill in a particular areas such as painting, writing, math, music, history, electronics, or composing.
  • People with AS may have difficulties working in groups.

Aspergers101: Where we’ve been and where we will go together in 2019!

Coming in 2019

*Exclusive content from world-renowned experts in the field of Autism. Making the Aspergers101.org award-winning website the forefront in credible and lifelong information of living your best with Asperger Syndrome.

*State Policy Changes – Aspergers101 will go into the 86th Texas Legislative Session come January 2019 with a proposed new Bill benefiting those drivers with a communication impediment such as Autism, Asperger Syndrome, Deafness, Parkinson’s, Mild Intellectual Disability and more. This Bill, if passed, will allow a driver the option to register their vehicle as a person with a communication impediment so if an officer of the law pulls them over and runs their license plate, it will be known prior to approaching the vehicle that the driver may not understand the officer. Due to recent deaths resulting from such a misunderstood interaction, this passage would make Texas the first state in the union to recognize Autism by both the DPS and DMV. Jennifer Allen has the backing/support of the Texas DMV, the Texas DPS and the Texas Governors Committee on People with Disabilities.

*Aspergers101 “on the road” Conferences, trainings and workshops scheduled throughout 2019.  

*Exclusively Train UT Health Science Center’s Doctors-in-Training on humanizing families and those diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

*Launch Aspergers101 Video Training Downloadable Section on Aspergers101.org target date: August 2019. Includes law enforcement, parents, educators and churches.

Consider your year-end giving to the continuing service of Aspergers101. Aspergers101 is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to providing continual information on Asperger Syndrome and High Functioning Autism. You can read more at the link below.

Give the Gift of Information!

DVD: "Coping to Excelling: Solutions for School-Age Children Diagnosed with Autism or Asperger Syndrome"

Excellent basic overview of High Functioning Autism and Aspergers Syndrome!

The Coping to Excelling documentary sheds illuminating light on the topic of High-Functioning Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome in school-aged children. Narrated by a Mother of a son with Asperger’s, this engaging program allows the viewer to ‘see through the eyes’ of those on the high end of the autism spectrum while getting advice from experts such as Dr. Temple Grandin, Dr. Tony Attwood, Jennifer McIlwee Myers, Billy Edwards and many more!

“I would strongly recommend the Coping to Excelling DVD not only for parents, especially those of a newly diagnosed child, but also for teachers and professionals!”

– Dr. Tony Attwood




The DVD, Coping to Excelling, is divided into 5 chapters each lasting just over 10 minutes. The chapters may be viewed independently or the entire Documentary (lasting 68 minutes) may be viewed in it’s entirety.

Chapters include:

  • Understanding High-Functioning Autism or Asperger Syndrome – a broad overview
  • The Family Unit – The importance thereof
  • Choices in Education – Pro’s and con’s of all methods
  • Bullying – re-enactments and solutions
  • Social Development – suggestions and tools from the experts


Purchase Here



Product details

A Gift of Preparedness

As you are in the midst of family & social gatherings, we offer you our best on preparing for the potential nightmares of sensory overloads and societal expectations. The change in routine is the biggest difficulty during the holidays. Below are suggestions for you or for those you think might need the awareness most!
-The Staff at Aspergers101

1. If your child is easily overstimulated, limit holiday decorations in your home. 
2. At parties, always offer an ‘escape’ that you will honor if needed
3. Avoid taking your child shopping on the busiest shopping days of the year or to return gifts after Christmas
4. Remember ear plugs may eliminate sensory overload at malls or anywhere loud voices or sounds may be amplified
5. Avoid overscheduling and be sure to provide for downtime

We asked the founder of Starfish Social Club, Stephanie Pepi, What is your advice to parents fearing holiday social scenarios for their children diagnosed with High Functioning Autism or Asperger Syndrome?  

Her response:
My 10 strongest pieces of advice are to prepare as much as possible and to use unexpected moments as teachable moments. Here are some specific recommendations:

1. Prepare as much as possible ahead of time.

2. Tell your child where you are going, why, how long you expect to be there, and what to expect. 

3. When you get there, engage in a strategy called ‘read the room’. What do you notice? What are the expectations? What are most people doing?

4. Don’t schedule social events with no plan. Center it around an activity or event. All our social outings involve going to a place to do a thing. Structure reduces stress. If you want to schedule a play date, where are you going to go? Maybe a park or themed event. Try to do it on neutral ground, not at someone’s house. The same is true for a ‘hang out’ for older kids. Base it around a structured activity like a trampoline park or movie.

5. Give your child an out. What is the signal if they need a break? Where can they go? What can they do?

6. Let your child come up with the goal so it’s meaningful to them. Sometimes I only focus on one thing with certain students. The goal for the day may be for him to keep his body in the group. Or for her to be flexible when her partner suggests a game. Or for him to follow the group plan instead of his own plan.

7. After the activity, praise your child for all the things they did well, no matter how small. Did they greet other people? Did they share something? Did they ask someone a question?

8. If it wasn’t super successful, don’t talk about the challenges. Save that for the next time you prep for something.

9. Let your child have ‘me time’ after the activity. Social events can be stressful and ‘me time’ is both rewarding and stress relieving.

10. Reward yourself as well. Supporting a kiddo with social learning challenges is tough work, and you are rocking it!

My strongest pieces of advice are to prepare as much as possible and to use unexpected moments as teachable moments

Stephanie Pepi/Starfish Social Club

More reading!
Tips for Navigating Holiday Events For People with Social Learning Challenges
Twelve Tips for Helping Individuals with Autism Have a Happy Holiday Season
Tips For An Autism-Friendly Holiday Season
Surviving Christmas Break: Tips for Parents with Kids on the Autism Spectrum

Consider your year-end giving to the continuing service of Aspergers101. Aspergers101 is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to providing continual information on Asperger Syndrome and High Functioning Autism. You can read more about Aspergers101 and donate HERE.

Samuel Allen/Aspergers101 Logo

Tips for Navigating Holiday Events For People with Social Learning Challenges

We are entering the holiday season! For most people, that’s the best time of the year! We get to see friends and family we don’t often see. We get to enjoy foods we don’t normally eat. We get to go to parties and events and activities. There are lots of noises and lights and smells. We have time off school and work.

And your child with social learning challenges has been dreading this time of year for months.

Holiday party, holiday events, social learning challenges, tips

For most people with social challenges, it’s the worst time of the year. They have to see friends and family they don’t often see, and they are expected to be‘socially appropriate’, or at least ‘social’. They are expected to ‘try’ a bunch of foods they don’t like and don’t want. (What? No chicken nuggets??) They have to go to parties and events and activities they don’t want to go to. There are overwhelming noises and lights and smells. The schedule is unpredictable because of time off school and work.

Here are some tips to help you and your child prepare for holiday events and activities. While the wording in this article is geared toward parents of children with social learning challenges, all the tips are equally applicable for adults with social learning challenges as well.

Strategy for Asperger Students: Mini-Maps

Guidance with Assignments

In a previous blog we established the core strategy of a class schedule or agenda as an essential starting point, let’s extend our focus to a companion strategy. A schedule within a schedule has many names. For our purposes, we will call this sub strategy “mini-maps.”

A mini-map takes a piece of the schedule and breaks it down even further.

The schedule guides you from one major activity to another, while the mini-map clarifies the smaller steps within that activity. This can be especially helpful to decrease frustration associated with academic tasks, but can be useful for any chunk of time that presents a challenge.

strategy, mini-maps

Some people with Asperger’s have difficulty with experiences that are too sensory in one way or another. Going to P.E. or taking a bath/shower can be broken down into smaller steps so that an individual can walk through these difficult experiences with a guide and a clear understanding that there is an end in sight.

For now, let’s focus on mini-maps as they relate to academic endeavors.

Often, teachers note that a common antecedent or trigger to behavioral difficulties is the presentation of academic tasks. The behaviors can range from a verbal protest to a meltdown when students feel overwhelmed by school work.

The first question to ask, of course, is what is there about the work that makes the student feel so overwhelmed? Does the page look too busy? Is too much handwriting involved? Are there too many problems? Is it too difficult or too easy? In other blogs on our “Education: K-12” section, we discuss ways to adjust the format and/or content of academic tasks to increase student success.

Mini Map Example: