On The Road With An Occupational Therapist – How We Can Help
Driving is an important activity that we complete every day and it is often something we take for granted. An injury, illness or disability can affect our ability to drive which can affect our independence and our ability to get out and about in the community. Occupational Therapist’s who have additional training in driving rehabilitation can assist people to return to driving or to ensure that people continue to maintain their safety when driving.
When someone has a medical condition affecting their ability to drive, an Occupational Therapist can complete a comprehensive driving assessment to help someone return to driving. This includes assessing a person’s physical abilities, their memory and thinking, their vision, as well as their awareness of road rules. This is then followed by going for a drive with the Occupational Therapist and a Driving Instructor to determine if the person’s medical condition is impacting on their safety when driving. Often people are asked by their doctor to complete a driving assessment with medical conditions such as dementia, stroke, parkinson’s disease, visual impairment, brain injury or any other condition that may affect driving ability.
If someone has a physical injury or disability, there are ways that an Occupational Therapist can help with driving safely. This may include using modifications to the vehicle that are specially designed for the person. These may include using a spinner knob on a steering wheel for someone who only has use of one arm for example.
Return to Driving Programs
After a driving assessment, the Occupational Therapist may recommend a program to help someone return to driving. This might include the person completing driving lessons focusing on certain issues to help someone get back to driving. For example, someone might need driving lessons to practice driving using vehicle modifications safely.