In the driver's seat

Shayne's undeterred by brain disorder

SHAYNE ****** passed his driving test first time - nothing too unusual about that, you might think. Except that Shayne has a brain disorder which means he can't speak, lacks mental co-ordination and can't tell left from right.

Shayne, 25. who lives independently in *******, has always had a passion for cars.

Learning disability charity Dorset Advocacy contacted driving instructor John Brown. "They found my name in the disability register," said John who used to teach special needs children.

Now he runs his own driving school in Colehill and concen­trates on would-be drivers with problems.

PASSED FIRST TIME: Newly qualified driver Shayne Nixon, with his driving Instructor John Brown

John found that Shayne could drive well and had a feel for engines, so most of their time was spent on theory.

"The theory test can be the big problem with a lot of people with disability," said John.

"It comes down to language in the multiple choice questions -is it 'across the road' or 'along the road'? It causes problems."

But Shayne got there, passing the theory the second time and the practical only a few weeks later.

"I was ever so pleased when he passed first time," said John.

"And Shayne was beaming from ear to ear and rubbing his hands all the way back."

John sat in on the test which he found "very thorough" – no concessions were made to Shayne's disability. "Shayne has a tremendous aptitude for driving - you never get a sudden clutch movement," he said.

"And he doesn't cut stages out but goes through the whole pro­cedure, which leads to safety."

Shayne has an old Triumph Toledo and a Triumph Herald which he is planning to rebuild.

He drives for pleasure but it is quite possible he will be able to work for the first time in his life.

"He might get some delivery work - passing his test has opened up possibilities for him," said his instructor.

Story by Sharen Green
Bournemouth Daily Echo 21 June 2001