Autistic adults have decreased independence in community mobility and driving, which is associated with decreased participation in work, education and community participation. This is the first exploration of the development of community mobility, driving and participation skills over adolescence and emerging adulthood. Interviews with 15 mothers of autistic youth, capable of independence, were qualitatively analysed using grounded theory. Four major themes emerged: mothers gently pushing, teaching, letting go and working towards hopes and dreams. These results suggest earlier intervention across adolescence to address social skills, communication and anxiety in normative community environments, is required for successful development of community mobility and driving skills. Further understanding the critical role of confidence, feeling safe and accepted, could ultimately improve independence.