Jacob’s Transportation Story

Most of the seniors at Jacob’s school had their driver’s licenses, many of them drove their parents’ cars to school, and a few even had their own cars.

But Not Jacob.

His father offered to help him get his learner’s permit, but Jacob kept putting it off. He had taken driver’s ed in school because he had to, but he had no desire to drive. Just the thought of getting behind the wheel made him anxious; he pictured himself crashing the car and possibly killing himself or other people. It made his stomach hurt.

Why Should Jacob Get a Driver’s License?

There weren’t a lot of places Jacob needed to go. He rode the bus to school, and he enjoyed the exercise of walking to the bus stop. After school, he walked Mulligan. He loved being alone outside after being cooped up in classrooms and navigating crowded hallways. Walking alone was a great stress-reliever for him, and he welcomed it, even in rain or cold.

His parents had offered to buy him a used car for his eighteenth birthday, but Jacob talked them out of it. They got him a top-of-the-line bicycle instead, with mirrors, lights, a sturdy locking chain, and a new helmet.

A Two-Wheeled Alternative

Jacob learned to ride a bike as a kid, but he outgrew his first bicycle and hadn’t ridden in years. He found that he really did remember how to balance and steer, and that he was good at it—I guess you could say it was just like riding a bike. It seemed to access a different part of his brain than he usually used, and biking relieved stress. The invigorating feeling of the wind in his face made him happy. Since his birthday, he’d been exploring his town on weekends, biking to the library, the local game and comic book stores, and even the mall. He found he could tolerate the crowds in the mall for longer periods after a bike ride to get there, and with the bike ride home to look forward to.

Jacob’s Transportation Solutions

For Jacob, walking and riding a bike were satisfying transportation solutions. His parents still drove him to appointments and places that were too far to bike. He knew that someday he’d have to come up with other options, but for now, while he was still living at home and going to high school, he wasn’t going to worry about it.

Jacob’s stories originally appeared in the first edition of Wendela Whitcomb Marsh’s book, Independent Living with Autism: Your Roadmap to Success. (Revised as Independent Living While Autistic: Your Roadmap to Success, Book One of the Adulting While Autistic series.) Jacob is a fictional character, not based on anyone, so any similarities to real people are coincidental.



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