It Could Be You


Handicapped logo on floor under car.I run a rather unusual driving school, catering for those drivers whom other instructors will not teach, have given up on, or whom they refer on to me for special help, but I also specialise in supporting the elderly and those referred for medical, social and educational reasons. I am always careful not to believe all I hear, but when people have failed seven or eight times and say; ' I have been financially and emotionally abused by driving instructors for 25 years' or 'he/she shouted at me' or 'she (a specialist) did not understand my problem' or 'he never understood that I did not learn the way he tried to teach me' or 'I have been ripped off', it makes me despair of our industry. Almost every-person I see has a story of failure in some respect but to keep my own opinions balanced and fair, I still teach a few 'normal' trainees.

I believe that these people have not been taught 'wrongly', but they have been taught 'inappropriately'. They have probably been taught according to the DSA's prescribed system, which may be ideal for most but as many people do not work to, or fit neatly into systems, those systems soon become inappropriate to them. The key to my work is enjoyment based on building confidence, and education based on how they learn. I have spent over thirty years in both transport (as a hobby) and specialising in teaching students who were failing at their academic studies because of literacy problems - dyslexia, dyspraxia, the disadvantaged and those with disabilities, or behavioural and emotional difficulties such as Aspergers (autism). My conclusion is that whilst many people may have difficulties, many 'failures' are only failures because of the inappropriate way they have been taught.

Phonics, Look and Say, Real-Books, ITA etc. have all been reading fads that schools have embraced in isolation because they were 'flavour of the month'. Many frontline teachers were made to teach the way the hierarchy wanted them to rather than using (or being allowed to use) their own knowledge and understanding of how the child learnt.   How the 25% of 'problem' students learnt to read, spell and understand, or did not learn at all because of their loss of confidence caused by their constant failure, depended on how they were taught, rather than their natural ability.

I found the same situation arose when teaching people to drive, so I established my business to meet the specific needs of these people. This resulted in me discovering a vast field of work that has overwhelmed me with the most interesting clients. There is great satisfaction in discovering and tailoring teaching to their individual needs, rather than trying to impose a set teaching structure that just doesn't fit and won't achieve the results they or I want.

One of the tools I use first is the automatic car.

We often ask too much of our candidates too early and overwhelm them. They can of course always change to  manual as they get more confident. The danger is that some instructors go into this specialist work with an automatic car because they think it is on easy option.

If you are not a good instructor on manual gears, you will probably be hopeless with an automatic because of the problems associated with these types of clients. Taking a disability teaching course and an automatic car is not enough and if you continue to give further inappropriate instruction, it can lead to there being no 'secret weapon', the automatic, to rebuild a client's confidence.

My clients have to make a case as to why they want me to teach them and then go on a waiting list. I honestly look forward to every working day and the service I provide to people who often feel that they have been given up on by society, and witnessing the transformation that can be made to their lives. Yesterday a letter from a supposed 'failure' gave me far more satisfaction than the money I'd earned; 'Keep up the tremendous work you do for people, it's certainly changed my life and my opinion of driving.'

 The previous day I was invited to another 'failure's' wedding with the comment; 'I simply adore driving and drive at every opportunity. It has changed my life and has lifted my confidence no end.' When every one of the so-called 'failures' for the past two months have passed first time (even my 75 year old), it feels like a great job to be in and, after fifteen years, I still look forward with excitement to the next day. My recent clients have suffered MS, ME, CP, Accident Trauma, Arthritis, Amputees, Aspergers, Abuse, Bereavement, Depression, Perceptual Problems, Phobias, Spina Bifida, Strokes, Educational and Emotional Special Needs and Head Injuries. 

I am also frequently asked to make assessments and write reports for Consultants, GPs, Insurance Companies, Social Workers, DVLA etc.

Can I Interest you In Getting Involved? If you are interested or would like to know more about this area of our industry, then please contact me on It would be great if we could develop a network of instructors willing and able to help those that our industry appears to be failing.