SmartStart – a gentle start to driving!

‘SmartStart’ is a new training course designed for learner drivers with Asperger syndrome, ADHD, mental health difficulties (such as nerves, panic attacks and depression), dyslexia and dyspraxia.  It offers a far gentler introduction to driving than standard lessons, as well as being delivered by an instructor who understands these conditions.

It was developed in May 2010, in response to national demand, to allow learners with special educational needs to enjoy a short course, provided by a professional specialising in this field, regardless of where they live in the UK.  It is often delivered as a three-day intensive course for pupils travelling long distances, while others living closer to Leicestershire usually take it one session at a time.

SmartStart begins after an initial assessment of needs and is a course of nine sessions designed to be flexible enough to fit around the student’s needs.  Parents and relatives are welcome to accompany in the tuition vehicle if the pupil wishes their support.

The assessment includes –

  • Tests of memory, judgement, motor control and reaction time
  • Overview of diagnosis including support needs and provision assessment
  • Check of medication and any other related factors
  • Overview of statements, licence and eyesight test if required

Although sessions are normally timed for one hour, this can vary slightly according to the individual’s needs.  It is not Exceldia’s policy to continue with a lesson if a pupil becomes tired due to exertion.  Pupils with nerves and Asperger syndrome, especially, put a great deal of effort into their training, and can therefore expend energy at a very high rate!

Prices vary according to the type and intensity of the special educational need; prices are quoted in advance and are confirmed by the assessment.

At the end of the course a second SmartStart can be booked if requested. Most SmartStart students who finish the course will have the confidence and ability to train with an ADI in their local area if they wish, who will be recommended by Exceldia if there is one close to where they live.

Initial assessments are £200.   Full-day intensive courses cost £250 (1 full day, equivalent to 3 lessons, or 2 lessons plus initial assessment), £500 (2 days, equivalent of 6 lessons, or  5 lessons plus assessment) and £800 (3 days, equivalent to 9 lessons, or 8 lessons plus assessment) as of  May 2014.  For more information and to book an assessment, email Exceldia on exceldia@ntlworld.com .

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