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#1 21-11-10 16:11:17

johnp
Verified Member
From: Dorset
Registered: 04-03-06
Posts: 2,636

ID after 1 month

Not sure this is the place to post it. Some will agree to it being posted and a few will not.

                                                              DRIVING INDEPENDENTLY ?

We can all look back over this first month of Independent Driving with a degree of satisfaction: the DSA for having pushed this important concept through to fruition: the candidates who have achieved success following the dropping of a reversing manoeuvre, the ADIs who have proved they are teaching clients to drive independently and the examiners who have made every effort to make sure the changes function smoothly. I think we could safely estimate that 80% of those involved will be able to say it has been a job well done with few problems being encountered, so statistically it has been a resounding success and most can look back and wonder what all the discussion and concern was about. But what of the 20% who we always knew would find it to be problematic and how have they fared? What of the examiners who have been at a loss about what to do and the instructors who are struggling to get their heads around how to teach this test to those whose problems have suddenly become even more specific and how is the DSA going to address the issues to smooth away the teething troubles in order to provide inclusion and equal opportunities for all?

I am of course referring to those who have Specific Needs who must to be able to be allowed to demonstrate to the examiners that they can drive independently in their own way. The ‘Instructed Independence’ now used for this test is a classic oxymoron and for those who don’t fit the box it can be a stressful and irrelevant exercise, so this must be rectified as soon as possible by allowing the candidates to choose to demonstrate their best option. If this choice was offered to every candidate, then the problems would largely be overcome; the examiners would see the true ability of the candidates since they would be working to their preferred strengths; the ADIs would not have to spend clients’ money ‘teaching for test’ but could use that time to teach ‘safe driving for life’ and the examiners would not have to ‘guess’ what option to give and there would not be a two-tier system in place which could attract a legal challenge.

The safeguards put in place by the DSA have not functioned as they were intended to do, because those who should have been implementing them seem not to have been adequately trained or informed. It would therefore seem appropriate for there to be a dedicated examiner - a ‘named person’ at each Test Centre who has both the skills and the training in the knowledge to implement the test to fit with the worthy mantra. “The DSA is determined that no member of society should suffer detriment due to any change we introduce.”  Let us consider what should be happening.

“All applicants who confirm that they have a Special Need or Disability receive a call back from a member of our booking team to discuss their requirements and what adjustments can be made.” RT (written)
‘Candidates who declare Sp Needs will be allocated a double slot so they have time to discuss their needs with the examiner’. DTAM (verbal)
“DSA has procedures to identify SN ---so the examiner knows which type of SN the candidate has so reasonable adjustments can be made--- For ID this could be asking the candidate which method they prefer. – following signs or a series of directions ---In some cases this will be shortened to just two directions” (written on Web Site)
“It is perfectly acceptable to jot down directions on a post it note and stick it to the dashboard.” SD (written) 

Let us consider what is actually happening as the examiners I have spoken to seem to have been confused by the decision to only consider ‘Dyslexia’ in the information they were given instead of including the various Specific Needs they are likely to encounter e.g. Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, ADHD and Aspergers which may require a different understanding and provision. “ ---our process of ensuring that we make the necessary adjustments for candidates with dyslexia.”
When I submitted a  highly intelligent client with Aspergers for test, instead of being asked which method he would prefer, he was given the Sequential Memory Test by the examiner who defended his action by saying “ I did not choose the signs because I thought he would not be able to read because it is like Dyslexia .“  I don’t think I need to analyse all that was wrong with that statement, but if the examiner had known to follow the correct procedure and asked the client, he would have known what he required instead of having to surmise so much incorrectly.   

The huge responsibility for getting this to succeed was laid at the door of the examiners, “DSA is satisfied that the examiners will manage the situation accordingly.” Well they have tried to, but it is hardly fair on them that they did not know the arrangements, nor fair on the clients that some examiners are allowing post-it notes to refresh the candidate’s memory whilst others are rejecting them under H&S; some are restricting to the sequence of 2 when one of my SpN  candidates was given a memory task of 7 (4 +3); some are allowing candidates to go off route, whilst others are giving late overrules to get them back on course. As more instructors are sitting in, then more difficulties are being observed and discussed with both candidates and colleagues. These seem to fall into the headings of Fear, Communication, Confusion, Visualisation and Reading. 

Fear -Candidates with problems are not going to be able to ask for help owing to fear, embarrassment, flash backs, or an inability to formulate words coherently when under stress and many candidates will not be prepared to admit they have a Sp Need especially if it has not been officially diagnosed, or they are highly intelligent, or are a good reader who struggles with dyslexic tendencies. “I panic when I am asked to read something and just freeze.”

Communication- involving late instructions to get the driver back on course when the driver has been unable to remember the direction required or understanding the request with the prompt coming too late to change lanes safely: ID should not be a navigation or guessing test since the examiner needs not only to be clear in what they are asking the candidate to do, but also to understand what the candidate actually understands.

Confusion - over the accuracy of what is actually stated on the sign. The instruction was to follow ALL ROUTES when the sign actually said ALL OTHER ROUTES. This triggered a double take and a delay in selecting the correct route, but a candidate with a reading difficulty or one with a literal interpretation would have struggled. “I hesitated, but then assumed that as the correct sign was not there I would go that way”.  The third instruction in a sequence was to turn right at the traffic lights when in fact they were Pedestrian Traffic lights which confused the sequential pattern.   

Visualisation.- The examiners are apologising for the design of the Schematic Diagrams and seem embarrassed to have to use them.  Visually interpreting diagrams which are not to scale is outside of anyone’s real life experience and the orientation and proportion of the patterns are most confusing. “I did not even look at it as it confused me just seeing it. If I look at a map I turn it round to the direction I am going so that it makes sense. I can’t memorise the direction where I am supposed to be going from a static plan”. 

Reading.- The danger associated with reading whilst driving has been brought to the fore since confusion is experienced when confronted with similar shapes and patterns without the contextual clues one usually uses e.g, POULTON and PRESTON can be indistinguishable when out of context as they have the same shape, same beginning and end with a similar medial pattern. Candidates may therefore read very slowly and if they are decoding may be unable to comprehend at the same time as driving. “I only look at the first letter”.   

The change from a destination on a green sign at one junction to a white sign at another would not be a problem in itself if it was a navigational test, but scanning the first sign and deciding what is there and what is not there, then not seeing the word they are looking for, then recognising and selecting the word from a different selection of words on a different coloured sign and comprehending what it said and then deciding what instruction it is giving and then choosing the appropriate lane whilst attempting to plan for the roundabout, is causing difficulty for the less able readers, scanners and comprehenders. The initial green sign gave time to select the lane, but the change to the white sign left them too near to the junction to choose the correct lane and so it became a navigational exercise for which in real life they would use a Sat Nav. One candidate explained her severe Left and Right confusion to the examiner and for most of the test he pointed, but said he could not point during the ID. When changing from decoding a green to a white sign and then trying to interpret which was the left and right lane induced a delayed action, so it would improve planning to reduce the reading load by keeping to one colour in the sequence.

I am sure we would all agree that ADIs are in the top sector of experienced drivers so it may be easier to understand through the experience of a fellow ADI who was brave enough to write down some of the personal effects that dyslexia can have. “I love reading, but it takes me time to understand what I am reading. I have spent my life being told I am thick.  I won’t talk to anyone I don’t know. When I am nervous I can say wrong words. I have no sense of direction, so spend time planning where I am going, but once I have been there I can remember where to go. I don’t know my left from my right and get letters mixed up. I can’t remember street names. I have no short term memory and the ID would fill me with panic.”

In 1978 Lady Warnock wrote her report on inclusion and independence in Special Educational Needs provision which was enshrined in law in 1981. I believe we should now consider driving as Education, so it is only fitting that we should comply with its ideals. There really is only one option and that is to allow the independence of choice for all.

John P  Brown
drivingincludesu.co.uk
(November 2010)


Driving is books-
1. "safe and responsible INDEPENDENCE."
2. "DISABILITY into ABILITY" 
3. "PSYCHOLOGY than SYSTEMS.
www.drivingincludesu.co.uk

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21-11-10 16:11:17

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Re: ID after 1 month



#2 21-11-10 16:56:10

finch
Member
Registered: 17-09-09
Posts: 168

Re: ID after 1 month

Sorry and I understand where you are coming from but please change the record.

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#3 21-11-10 17:08:38

Roadmaster
Verified Member
Registered: 04-03-04
Posts: 5,670

Re: ID after 1 month

It was inevitable that there would be problems with ID, and there was.
In my area my local association has held meetings with DSA officials to sort out problems which affected some groups of candidates, and hopefully changes have been made which will resolve the issues.

The point being that rather than just keep moaning about how unfair it is,  we did something positive for our pupils to make sure they weren't disadvantaged.

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#4 21-11-10 17:31:13

looprevil
Verified Member
Registered: 17-03-08
Posts: 424

Re: ID after 1 month

Interesting article John.

I still wonder however where the training process fits into all of what you talk about as often when I read your posts much of what you say relates to how the examination process needs looking at rather than what can be done to help people throughout the learning process to cope with the testing as it currently is.

Having worked with clients myself with specific needs for some years now I can honestly say I do not experience the same issues that you mention in the same way and I find myself wondering what is it that I do differently than you. This of course could be down to not seeing as many cases as you have/do.

I strongly believe that with correct training pre test any one should be able to understand and be successful at the driving test and have the ability to conduct tasks that are encountered in every day driving such as reading different road signs, road markings, understanding road laws, driving procedures, how others behave, how your vehicle responds to what you do, knowing where you're going and I'm sure various other things I could mention that encompass what a competent driver is.

I believe everyone I help has specific needs (some officially labelled and some not), and I beleive we all in the driver education field see this however some specific needs present themselves much less frequently than others and those people can then find the learning to drive process of more challenge particularly if the person teaching them does not recognise how things work for them.

What I do know however is that every person I take to a driving test has got to a place where they understand fully how to drive with complete independence and they also fully understand the nature of the assessment process and how they will be asked to conduct driving tasks whilst being assessed. For some people this has meant spending much more time learning and mastering the skill of driving due to their specific needs.

For me I believe I should have the flexibility in approach to understand my clients needs, how they will be tested, how they need to cope with being tested and how they need to cope driving by themselves and with passengers post test. Presently I am not finding difficulty managing these things effectively for those I am helping.

As a matter of interest where did your 80%, 20% statistical figures come from?

I find this aspect of work quite fascinating and am wondering if a get together would be mutually beneficial? Happy to chat about it if you like.

Hope you understand I'm not looking to be negative toward you John. The medium of written words on a forum is easily mis-understood on occasion. smile

regards

Paddy


smile  big_smile  lol  cool

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#5 21-11-10 18:19:38

johnp
Verified Member
From: Dorset
Registered: 04-03-06
Posts: 2,636

Re: ID after 1 month

Hi Paddy,

It was an extrapolated figure from the fact that 21% have SEN with 6 million being dyslexic.
Nothing scientific, but if we estimate that of that 21% half will never be able to learn to drive, there will be probably another 10% who have problems (including ADIs) who will struggle with an aspect of the test that in real life they would not use because they would lean to their strength and use their own coping strategies.

The test should lean towards their strengths not weakness which is all we have ever requested and all the Ed Act requires. I only see people who have failed with other instructors or are referred by Specialist Agencies to see if there is any hope for them, so I probably see the most extreme 2%.
In many areas they probably would not get the chance to learn. (some would say they should not but again that is the point of 'inclusion')   At present, all but one of my clients went to Special Schools and the one that didn't was referred by another instructor who could not teach her.
 


Driving is books-
1. "safe and responsible INDEPENDENCE."
2. "DISABILITY into ABILITY" 
3. "PSYCHOLOGY than SYSTEMS.
www.drivingincludesu.co.uk

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