Turner Syndrome Association of New Zealand Incorporated

Providing support to people affected by Turner Syndrome and their families in New Zealand

Turners and Driving

I remember my first experience of driving implicitly. I was just about to hop into the driver seat of my parents Mitsubishi car when my Dad suggested that he will adjust the seat forward to accommodate my height. I sat in the chair unable to look over the steering wheel or having any chance of my legs touching the break or accelerator. It was at this stage my father advised that a pedal car would be a more desirable method of transport for me.

Instantaneously my mouth dropped, checks reddened and heart pounded. How could I go through life not being able to drive?  How could I tell my friends at school that I wouldn’t be investing in a car?

Fortunately the seat was put backwards as a practical jock, therefore once it was put forward no pedal extensions were required.
Asides from the seating issue learning to drive did not come without trials and tribulations. Like many Turners girls I struggled with spatial awareness. This had real practical implications when behind the wheel as judging speeds and distances took me longer to discover. However I have now got a full license and have driven more miles than I can care to think. We all make mistakes when learning, hand brake on, lights off not indicating but it’s important to remember that driving can be deadly.

Tips for Teaching Driving

  • Patience and time aplenty required
  • Qualified instructors are worth the money
  • Understanding to the spatial/perceptual deficits
  • Only providing conditions that your daughter can safely handle
  • Do not underestimate the social implications of not having the independence of driving
  • Clear instructions and expectations are much appreciated (e.g. today you are going to practice steering and passing on the open road)
  • Breaking up activities into part-tasks (e.g. 3 point turn, one turn at a time)
  • When sitting the exam make sure you are well prepared, the AA has fantastic information sheets with expectations and requirements during the test
  • Driving is a great time for the girls to develop maturity and independence (e.g. they need to schedule practice times)
  • Ensure the develop their analytical skills my them appraising their driving at the end of each session