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Do you need to declare learning difficulties (e.g. dyslexia) or developmental disorders (e.g. autism) when applying for a first provisional driving licence? What about learning disability?

Notification of these conditions to DVLA is only required if they affect your ability to drive safely.

DVLA Driving Licence Application Form (D1)

If you have a learning difficulty such as dyslexia, dyspraxia or dyscalculia, this does not need to be declared when making an application for a first provisional licence. DVLA do not need to be informed of a learning difficulty, “severe learning disability” is included in the list health condions on the D1 licence application form, this is very different from a “learning difficulty” and you should not confuse the two (see below).

If you have a developmental disorder such as autism, ADHD or Asperger’s syndrome these again do not need to be declared when making a licence application – these conditions do not match any of the listed health conditions on the licence application form so you should declare that you do not suffer from any of the listed conditions. DVLA do not need to be informed unless you think that the condition may affect your ability to drive safely or your GP advises you that notification is needed.

Notification to DVLA Medical Unit

Under the title “learning difficulty/disability” there are varying categories. For “learning difficulties” DVLA do not need to be informed, they do though need to be notified of a diagnosis of a “learning disability” :

  • “Learning Difficulty” is not included and it is clearly stated that dyslexia and dyscalculia are no bar to ordinary Group 1 licences being awarded following a successful driving test; DVLA do not need to be informed.
  • “Mild Learning Disability” is included, DVLA state that candidates with this condition may be able to drive but notification must be made. Licensing will be granted provided there are no other relevant problems. DVLA may require an assessment of adequate functional ability at the wheel.
  • For “Severe Learning Disability” DVLA state that candidates must not drive and notification must be made; licencing is likely to be refused.

If you are unsure about the details of your diagnosis you are advised to discuss this with your doctor.

Learning difficulty or learning disability?

“A learning difficulty does not affect general intellect. There are many different types of learning difficulty, some of the more well known are: dyslexia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyspraxia and dyscalculia. A person can have one or a combination.

A learning disability is a reduced intellectual ability and difficulty with everyday activities – for example household tasks, socialising or managing money – which affects someone for their whole life.”

https://www.mencap.org.uk/learning-disability-explained

For Developmental disorders DVLA do not need to be notified unless there are any significant issues to a degree that would raise concerns about an individual’s ability to drive safely:

  • For “Pervasive Developmental Disorders” such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Asperger’s syndrome, autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) and other related conditions, DVLA state that people with these conditions “May be able to drive but must notify DVLA if the condition affects the ability to drive safely”.

Discuss driving with your GP who will advise if notification to DVLA is required

When applying for a first provisional licence you will not have had the opportunity to drive on the public road so have no way of knowing whether the condition will affect your ability to drive safely. Your GP will be able to confirm the classification of any specific learning difficulty/disability and advise if notification to DVLA is required, if you have a developmental disorder they would also be able to address the list of symptoms that may result in significant issues that may affect you ability to drive safely. The GP will only be able to advise on medical fitness to drive and cannot determine practical driving ability, referral for a formal Driving Mobility Assessment may be required at your local Driving Mobility Assessment Centre to confirm this. You may need a provisional driving licence to complete the practical driving assessment, ask the GP for a letter confirming medical fitness to drive to attach to the licence application form; discuss this with the staff at the assessment centre.

If the medical condition does not match any of the conditions listed in the “Your Health” (section 4) of the D1 licence application form you would be correct in answering “no” to the question “Have you ever had or do you currently suffer from any of the following conditions?” If your doctor has advised you to notify DVLA about any medical condition you should give details of this in a covering letter and attach this to the D1 application form.

For further advice contact DVLA Medical Unit by:

phone: 0300 790 6806

webchat: https://contact.dvla.gov.uk/drivers-medical

email: https://contact.dvla.gov.uk/driver/capture_transaction_type?transaction_type_id=drivers_medical

or by post: DVLA, Drivers Medical Unit, Swansea, SA99 1TU

Give your full name and address (If the address on your licence is incorrect tell them), date of birth, driving licence number and as much information about your medical condition as possible.

For those who have already passed a practical driving test, the fact that you have passed will have proved that the condition does not affect your driving ability so no notification is needed.

Updated 28.02.2022