Link June 2017 Vol 26 Issue 3 - Page 28

car conversions & equipment can you drive? The process of getting your licence if you have a disability can be a long one. Link Magazine spoke to occupational therapist Kate Walker about her experiences assessing potential drivers. According to Kate, there are two main type of modifications – Access Mods; which help people with a disability get into and out of a car; such as ramps, sliders, and wheelchair storage, and Driving Mods; which are mods people “The first thing that happens is a need in order to drive the car. person goes to their GP to find out if they are fit for assessment,” “This includes hand controls, for Kate said. “There is a book called people unable to use their lower “It tends to happen more for ‘Assessing Fitness to Drive’ that sets limbs, left foot accelerators for people who have been driving, but out minimum standards for driving, people who have an injured or now have a medical condition that and GPs, specialists and occupational missing right leg, or panoramic impacts on their ability to drive, therapists (OTs) use this. mirrors for people with poor neck such as advancing dementia or movement.” visual neglect. It can be hard to do “Once a person is referred to me, cancellations, but if I can keep others I generally contact the Roads and For Kate, being a Driving Assessor on the road safe, that is generally Maritime Services Medical Unit to meant acquiring some additional how I justify the decisions I’m making. confirm the person has a Learners knowledge and training. “And I’ll always discuss alternative Licence, or I can’t take them out on “To be an assessor you have to transport options with clients, have been a qualified OT for at and generally call their GP to let Kate, who runs Upshot least two years, be registered them know the outcome of the Occupational Therapy in New with the Australian Health assessment, and encourage the South Wales, said initially she Practitioner Regulation Authority client to link back in with their GP.” doesn’t discuss modifications, and and have completed a post-grad uses a more general assessment. qualification for specialist driving For people considering going assessment,” she said. through the Driver Assessment the road.” “I always see the person for an process, Kate had some advice. off-road assessment first. During Kate said that part of her job is this I am clinically assessing the also, at times, cancelling or not- “I would urge people to speak client in three main areas– vision, allowing a person’s licence. to their regular doctor in the first biomechanics and cognitive thinking. 26 instance, and then go for it – and “The main reason to do a if you’re with the NDIS, ask for “This takes around two hours, cancellation is if we have a ‘critical funding to assist you in reaching and then I take them on the road incident’ on the road, which means this goal.” for an hour in my Rehab Driving that the Driving Instructor has to Instructor’s ca [\\^H[\[HHZ[܈Y\[\\[Y[][ۜ\B]K[ۛH[H\][[XY[ 8'HHZY H]H]H[[\^\[Y[[][YX][ۜ܈\][ۘ[\\\H\ۈX^H\]Z\K'H[][ܙK\۝\[ۜ \]Z\Y[B[ۛ[KK]