Julia introduces herself and this course
My name is Julia Malkin and I’ve been a driving instructor since 2006. In 2008, I was diagnosed with autism, at the age of 40, and a couple of years later I was diagnosed with dyslexia and other learning difficulties.
Despite these problems, I was able to gain 4 degrees at university, including a PhD in autism-related issues, and an MBE from The Queen in the New Year Honours List 2011.
I have a unique position – to be a special needs person, and also to be qualified at the university level in the issues and differences that special needs people have. We special needs people need supportive driving instructors. This course is written for driving instructors like you, so you can support people like me.
As a driving instructor, you have a high chance of seeing people like us as your pupils. We can be diagnosed people coming to you for training, or be totally undiagnosed and show difficulties that present themselves as the lessons progress.
Special needs people come from all sections of society. Regardless of our race, or religion, we will be found in all walks of life. And we will succeed because through this course you are opening your world to us through driving.
What you will learn
Every instructor will come across a special needs person sooner or later in their career. You will see different behaviour patterns, communication difficulties, and other issues which will seem different when compared to your everyday pupils. Even if there is no formal diagnosis of a special needs condition or a learning difficulty with a pupil, you could see differences and learning issues showing in your car.
This course will go through what you may see in your car, explain the reasons why this could be happening, and the support we will need from you to help us learn. Regardless of the condition, an instructor needs to know what to do if an issue is seen regarding learning or driving, or both – and be able to provide the support and help needed for success.
People like me are often passed on from one instructor to another. Some instructors research our different conditions, but even after research, they do not know how to support us as we go through the lessons. Many compare us to their regular pupils and, not understanding us, pass us on. As an instructor, I’ve successfully taken tests with several pupils to whom I was the 7th instructor, and they succeeded in becoming safe drivers.