Train driving and autism

 
  BronnyPigz Beginner

Location: Boronia, Victoria, Australia
I'm after some advice.  My 6 year has had her heart set on train driving for years.  But today she got diagnosed with Autism.  Does anyone know if this will be a set back?  She had her heart set on Metro (Melbourne) even having talked to drivers to gather information.  (Yes, she is 6.  But obsessed!)

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  seb2351 Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
I'm after some advice.  My 6 year has had her heart set on train driving for years.  But today she got diagnosed with Autism.  Does anyone know if this will be a set back?  She had her heart set on Metro (Melbourne) even having talked to drivers to gather information.  (Yes, she is 6.  But obsessed!)
BronnyPigz
I know some drivers who suffer from various autism spectrum handicaps and they are great drivers. If she can communicate well, pass psyc test ( which I couldn't see a problem with, she would pick up the pattern and see the right answers) then she should have no obstacles greater then anyone else who wants to be a driver.

Best of luck for the future!
  BronnyPigz Beginner

Location: Boronia, Victoria, Australia
Thanks.  She has made herself a list.  She wants to start volunteering at Puffing Billy when she's 10.  lol.  And work her way up until she can get into Metro.
  Zodiac Junior Train Controller

Location: The Never Never
I can't see autism being being any barrier to getting a job  as a Driver with any of the major rail employers, in fact it may be an unfair advantage as you would not have to spend pointless years having the common sense beat out of you.

Zodiac
  cagermacleod Beginner

Location: Melbourne
Your daughter sounds exactly like me. I have wanted to be a train driver since being a little kid and I have mild autism. I'm able to drive a car so I don't see why I (and your daughter) would not be able to drive trains.
  Raichase Captain Rant!

Location: Sydney, NSW
I'd like to second the opinions already in the thread - provided she's medically fit to do the job (passes hearing, colour blindness tests etc), then Autism alone shouldn't be enough to rule out a career with the railways. If she's passionate about it, she'll likely give it her all, which is more than one can say about a lot of railway employees.
  GvhftrKijl Locomotive Driver

Location: ERD
I'll third the replies given here - if in 15-odd years time, she's medically fit to do the job and can through driver training grasp the signals, safeworking, and the various forms of rolling stock, then she'll make a fine addition to the Driving Grade.

In the mean time, be sure she smiles and waves when a train rolls past - we'll more than likely give a toot back Smile
  BronnyPigz Beginner

Location: Boronia, Victoria, Australia
She's the crazy child taking photo's as the trains go by.  lol.  She is (just a little) obsessed.  Everything is trains.  She will sit and watch documentaries for hours about trains.  Even jumps on YouTube and watches video's about different signals. Can quote the history of LNER.  I've just found some Victorian Railway History DVD's for her to watch as well.  

So in 13 odd years (As Metro doesn't employ people under 19.5 years), look out for her!  Very Happy
  s3_gunzel Not a gunzel developer

Location: Western Sydney, AU
Oh man, that sounds like me... I'm the "point, shoot, and hope it comes out" type though. It's much more interesting that way.
  jcsaws63 Locomotive Driver

Location: 200Mts from the 535k post
Great to have a goal so young.
Some kids like football, some dolls, some cars. If you can get employed doing something you enjoy its not a job.
Cheers
JC




I think our friend Steve just past "Quinty", just a Blast to say hi ! Must be back on the job.  21.56
  Grantham Minister for Railways

Location: I'm with stupid!
Good luck to her, I hope she gets there.

And starting at Puffing Billy sounds very good, there is nothing like a steam education in the railway industry! Smile

M
  Spiritman Train Controller

Location: Camden, NSW
She's the crazy child taking photo's as the trains go by.  lol.  She is (just a little) obsessed.  Everything is trains.  She will sit and watch documentaries for hours about trains.  Even jumps on YouTube and watches video's about different signals. Can quote the history of LNER.  I've just found some Victorian Railway History DVD's for her to watch as well.  

So in 13 odd years (As Metro doesn't employ people under 19.5 years), look out for her!  Very Happy
BronnyPigz
An inspiration to us all...keep us updated in the coming years with her progress!
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) includes a huge range of symptoms some of which remain for life while others recede at the onset of adulthood.  Every individual is unique and displays different symptoms and every one goes on to a different future.  The majority of milder cases will go on to live otherwise normal lives; some with severe autism will require care 24-7 for all their days.  

As others have said there is no obstacle presented to train driving by a diagnosis of autism as such.  It is the many tests and assessments and the ability to learn in a "normal" classroom environment and do the job safely that matter.  No-one can tell for sure how a 6 year old will perform in 12 years or so when the time cones to consider paid employment.  ASD apparent today might be gone by then.  Or there may be some lingering insularity and dependence on others.  It's way too soon to say.  What needs to be borne in mind though is that if the recruitment process is passed there is unlikely to be any special consideration given during the very arduous year-plus of on-job learning.  It can be hard and it relies on a good deal of independent study as well.  Classrooms can be unforgiving places for ASD people.

Another factor to consider is the degree to which any ASD person can cope with independent decision making.  Many are superb; some cannot make decisions at all.  A train driver must make appropriate safety-critical decisions at every moment of every day with no margin for error or self-doubt.  And they must be capable of taking control in any emergency and leading the initial response.

I can comment with some degree of authority.  I have three nephews who all endured ASD and required special schooling or special teaching in mainstream schools.  Two are now out in the workforce while the third has not yet developed appreciable social skills and while he is working it is in a controlled and non-challenging environment.  Only one has been able to learn to drive a car.  All have improved significantly from the childhood condition as they entered their twenties and one would probably pass as "normal" now for many purposes.  

May I wish you every success and strength in the years ahead and with your daughter's career aspirations.  She should seize every opportunity and work towards the goal she herself has set.
  snowy446 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Somewhere on a train
Same here i have Autism as well and have tried so hard to become a driver but all the Merit based crap is so annoying
I just wish i could prove to them i can do it
  FullSeries Assistant Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
Same here i have Autism as well and have tried so hard to become a driver but all the Merit based crap is so annoying
I just wish i could prove to them i can do it
snowy446
I'm sure every person on that list thinks the same thing.
  car_fanatica Station Staff

It's amazing how many kids with ASD, have an obsession with trains.

My partner takes care of two children, one of whom is a 7 year old boy with ASD, and tells me all the time about various metro train facts.
The other week he came out and said that's what he's going to do one day.

I was like - smeg lad, when I was 7.. My only focus was playing with Power Ranger toys.
  RJC2000 Beginner

Hi my son turns 13 this year and loves travelling on trains and draws train lines and maps that are very large and intricate. He will work on it for a month everyday and then he will start a new one and begin again. He knows all the bus routes, tram routes,numbers etc across Melbourne. Each weekend we travel to somewhere on the otherside of the city by train have lunch,have a look about and then travel home again.This usually takes up the whole day.We have travelled by train to Queensland and back a number of times and also to Sydney.
He wants to be a train driver too and until I read this post, didn't even think it could be a possibility. At least I know not to completely put it out of his head but as with my other children I will tell him to keep his options open.His second love is food and cooking.Although he is not quite a junior master chef.
He watches YouTube and all the train networks overseas.He remembers the sites the trains pass etc and now wants to visit Europe to travel there network.His fixation 2 years ago was Grandtheft auto not because of the gaming and the terrible violence but the train routes. He knows a lot of the city layouts from these games.Now I have found this site I am excited that he will have to do some reading on a topic close to his heart-thank you all the great information and thank you to all the wonderful train drivers that safely take us on our adventures every week .On Monday he already bugs me about where we are going on the following weekend.????

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