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Northallerton driving instructor is region's first for special needs training
A FORMER soldier has become the first in the region to train fellow driving instructors to cater for special needs learners.
Mark Walker, who set up Drive Time driving school after spending 23 years in the Army, said he was keen to provide the extra skills required.
Now he wants to train other instructors after becoming one of just nine people in the country to complete a specialist course.
The Revolutions courses were devised by Excel Driver Instructor Training (Exceldia) to teach instructors how to cope with difficult situations such as pupils suffering panic attacks or having a low attention span.
Mr Walker, from Northallerton, North Yorkshire, said: ""As I enjoy training people I decided to go into the driving instructor industry - and when I got the chance to train as a teacher for people with Asperger Syndrome, autism, dyslexia and dyspraxia I thought it was a great idea.
"My first ever student had Asperger Syndrome - I had never even heard of it never mind know how to deal with a person who has it.
"The condition means they take everything you say literally. I had to learn how to speak to them without making flippant remarks because it could make them stressed or anxious if they did not understand the directions I gave them.
"Analysing and correcting the faults of a special needs pupil is a whole new world of learning to instruct.
"I also had other special needs pupils and needed to know how to teach them effectively.
"Having the correct techniques is not only good for them, but also helps you understand their needs."
Mr Walker was approached by the Revolutions team to teach other instructors after completing his training.
He added: "Now I am a Revolutions trainer I have the chance to teach more instructors, so more special needs pupils in the area will have the chance to learn."
One of the goals of Exceldia is to make sure every special needs pupil has a specially trained instructor within a 30-mile radius of where they live.
For more information on driving lessons or instructor courses contact Mr Walker on 07855-800939.