Learning to drive with JIA


Our son is going to be 17 years old this Autumn and he may start driving lessons soon. I wondered how people manage driving lessons with JIA ? Any tips/advice would be great! Thanks, Lorraine ๐Ÿ˜Š


  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,608

    I got RA aged 15 and didn't learn to drive until I got my first Motability car. I was about 30 by then and, as there were no DMARDS in my early years, you can imagine the state of me.

    I chose what was then deemed the country's best driving school and, on my first lesson, nearly wrapped the car round a tree as ,my instructor deemed I needed a steering wheel knob but my arms wouldn't reach to the 12 o'clock position. He said I'd never learn to drive.

    Soon after, we moved house and I found a local chap with his own school. He had only one arm and had taught lots of disabled people to drive. After one lesson he dismissed the original verdict on my driving ability as rubbish.

    To cut a long story short, I passed first time. I had my automatic car adapted so that I could use my better foot and a pull on/push off handbrake adaption.These served me well for my many driving years and, when I had to change cars, they just came off one and went on the next.

    I'd strongly advise an instructor who is adept at helping disabled drivers. You can find out more herehttps://www.disabilitydrivinginstructors.com/

    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • Thank you- that really helps and I appreciate your experience with learning to drive and searching for an instructor who can teach disabled drivers.

  • Not sure if your son is in receipt of PIP, and if so, the enhanced rate of mobility. If so, he is entitled to driving lessons through motability - not sure if they're discounted or free as I've not used it myself.

    I'd defo recommend an automatic, depending on where his pain is. I've got the adult version of JIA (Adult Onset Stills Disease) and had to stop driving because of it. However I'm now getting an automatic which will make such a HUGE difference because it requires less concentration/less fatiguing, less reliance on joints/no clutch, gears etc.

    The link @stickywicket sent you is fab - they're full of knowledge ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Lollipop51
    Lollipop51 Member Posts: 7


    Thank you- it is good to hear your experience. He is not in receipt of PIP.

    He seems keen to try a manual car first,but I think we will see how he finds it.I can see how an automatic car could also be helpful.I think it will be a learning curve for us all. ๐Ÿ˜Š

  • JC1978
    JC1978 Member Posts: 21

    Hi Lorraine,

    It's fantastic your son is learning to drive! It'll give him a great feeling of independence!

    I don't have any experience of JIA, my arthritis came on in my 40s, having learnt to drive when I was 18 and well.

    i can understand your son being keen to drive a manual. Once he gets his licence he can then drive either. I found I had to switch to an automatic recently because I lost range of motion in my elbows and had a lot of shoulder pain which made changing gears challenging. Automatics certainly do take the strain off the clutch leg, especially when in queueing traffic.

    look for an understanding instructor who has experience in teaching young adults who have disabilities and I'm sure he'll get on fine. They might have an automatic and a manual which means he could try both and see how he gets on with the gear changes.

    I really hope he finds the best solution!

    Jenny x