When our son Jay turned 16, he began asking about getting his driver's license. We had learned early on that Jay was a very determined individual, and that if he said he wanted to do something, we'd better find a safe way to make it happen. We started with a Driver's Ed course at his high school. Jay took the classes but not the exam, and that introduction to the idea seemed to be enough. Two years later, he decided to take the course again, hoping to get his learner's permit. We were encouraged by a story in the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress (MDSC) newsletter about a local woman who had earned her license. Also, at age 18, Jay's neuro-psychological exam indicated that his judgment and problem-solving skills were at the level of a 15 to 16 year old (driving age for many teens). Jay hired a tutor to help him prepare for the permit test, and they worked on the book orally, because Jay's reading level is very low. After six months of studying, Jay passed the oral exam on his first try. The next step was a driving evaluation at a local rehabilitation hospital, with a driving simulator which tested response times, visual acuity, physical abilities, as well as many of the rules of the road. This testing is most valuable, because someone besides the parent is making the judgment about capacity to drive. Jay passed with flying colors, and was ready to take the wheel. The Driver's Ed teacher at the high school was very willing to work with Jay. Jay took more than 25 hours of driving instruction, and drove an hour a day with one of us for six months. At twenty-one, he took the driving test, and passed, with no restriction except glasses. What a huge step for all of us! It is not easy to let any of your children start driving, but even harder when your child has Down syndrome. Now that Jay has been driving for 16 years, we have no regrets that we facilitated his doing this. He owns a pickup truck, and driving gives him such independence. He drives to work, Special Olympics practices and social events. He is comfortable staying within a ten mile radius of home, and he does not drive others in his truck, as that would be distracting. There have been a few incidents - two speeding tickets, and two minor accidents - our other children had similar records, all while they were inexperienced. I have worked with many young adults with Down syndrome. I truly believe that parents are the biggest roadblock to their getting a license. Many of these young adults are capable of driving. We are allowing many of our children to live independently, or to seek higher education. We need to give them the chance to prove that they can learn to drive. We really encourage you to at least consider this possibility for your person with Down syndrome.