Support for children aged 0-25 with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

Driving with SEND, vehicle adaptations and Motability

If you have special educational needs or a disability, there is a range of support and equipment available to help you:

  • learn to drive
  • drive independently
How can I find out if I'm able to drive?

Your ability to drive will depend on the type and extent of your needs. The Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) will decide whether you can learn to drive.

You must give details of your condition or disability to the DVLA:

  • when you apply for your driving licence
  • if you develop a condition or a disability and already have a driving licence

The DVLA will decide if you:

  • need to get a new driving licence
  • can have a shorter licence which is reviewed at the end of the licence period
  • can drive but using a specialist vehicle or with adaptations to your car
  • are unable to drive/must give up your licence

You may have to have an examination or take an assessment before they make the final decision.

Find out more about the conditions for driving with a medical condition or a disability.

When can I apply for a driving licence and start driving lessons?

You can apply for a provisional driving licence when you are 15 years and 9 months old. You can start learning to drive when you are 17 years old.

Support available to help learn to drive

You can learn with a driving instructor or ask another adult to help you learn to drive. If you want them to take you out in a car, they must be over 21 with at least 3 years driving experience.

If you need help practicing for your theory test, you could ask a parent, carer, friend or support worker. Your driving instructor will also be able to give you advice on how to practice for your test. You can take a practice theory test on GOV.UK.

Visit GOV for information on learning to drive.

Driving Mobility have useful information on their website too.

You can also search for a specialist driving instructor near you.

Help with the cost of driving

There are various costs related to driving including the cost of:

  • your driving licence
  • driving lessons
  • your theory and practical tests

If you choose to buy a car you will also need to consider the cost of:

  • the car (buying or leasing)
  • car insurance and tax
  • MOT
  • running costs, such as petrol
  • ongoing repairs and maintenance

You won't have to pay for all these costs straight away as some of these costs will come with time.

To help with the costs, you may be able to get: ​

Vehicle adaptations and specialist equipment

If you're unable to use a standard car due to your needs or the needs of a family member, you could:

  • get a specialist vehicle
  • have a car adapted
  • get equipment for your car

Driving Mobility provide help and advice on many areas related to driving including vehicle adaptations. They also have information on specialist equipment such as car seats and harnesses for children with disabilities.

Motability scheme

If your needs make it hard for you to get about, and you receive a benefit for this, you can get a vehicle from Motability. You can use your benefit to lease a vehicle such as a car, mobility scooter or powered wheelchair. You will pay for the lease of the vehicle, but it will not belong to you. If you stop receiving your benefit for any reason, you will have to return the vehicle.

It’s possible to claim for a Motability vehicle for a child who is aged three or over. Read more about the Motability help available on GOV.UK.

For children under the age of three who need to be accompanied by bulky medical equipment or who need to be near a motor vehicle in case they require treatment for their condition, there is a scheme to provide specialist vehicles. All families of children who meet these criteria are eligible. Applications need to be made through the Family Fund grant scheme.

See if you can join the Motability scheme and find out more.

Helpful organisations

Disability Driving Instructors give advice about driving to people with SEN or a disabilities. They can help:

  • first time drivers
  • people who are returning to drive after developing a disability or SEND
  • Use the Disability Driving Instructors search tool to find a specialist instructor near you.

Driving Mobility help people who struggle with mobility gain independence through driving. They offer assessment and advice on:

  • adaptations to your vehicle
  • your ability to drive in a safe way
  • wheelchair or scooter loading and transportation

To visit one of their centres, get a referral from your doctor or a healthcare professional.

Disabled Motoring UK provide information on mobility and signpost to relevant services. This includes information on:

  • driving
  • car insurance
  • where to find an accessible vehicle

They also have an advice and guidance helpline.