Learning to Drive with Disability: How is it Possible?
In today’s time, driving has become a kind of necessity. It allows you to roam freely and participate more in lifestyle activities without relying on anyone.
Having a disability does not mean you have to say goodbye to your driving dream.
In Australia, you have National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) that allows you to cover the cost associated with disability. Under this scheme, you can fulfil your dream of driving with the help of NDIS funded driving lessons.
Getting your license and learning might require additional assessments from a doctor or occupational therapist. Also, your license may come with specific conditions; as long as you fulfil them, you can enjoy driving around.
Read on to learn more about how you can drive with a disability.
- Getting your license
Each state and territory would be different when it comes to issuing driving lessons.
However, they would all have a similar process – getting a medical fitness checkup and occupational therapy driving test.
A medical fitness checkup determines whether you are eligible for driving. You will be asked questions about your hearing, vision, coordination, and decision-making skills. Basically, the doctor would tell whether your condition will affect your driving or not and provide a report of whether you are fit to drive or not.
Occupational therapy assessment will include both on-road and off-road evaluations. For the latter, you will be enquired about your history and skills related to driving. Now, if this occupational therapist believes you are fulfilling the criteria of off-road assessments, you can start with driving lessons.
- Driving lessons with specialist driving instructors
Learner drivers with a disability must search for instructors with specialist knowledge and experience of their needs. Since driving is challenging and stressful, you would want someone who understands and makes you feel comfortable.
A good instructor can make the whole learning experience more fun and enriching.
All instructors have different ways of teaching – it is best to choose someone with a good reputation. Also, looking for a specialist driving instructor with certain expertise and certification in different disabilities is best. They would be more patient and supportive while teaching and you will learn more efficiently and better.
You can ask your friends or family – they would be able to recommend a good teacher, but remember to do your research. Take a look at what different schools are offering, and in some, you would be able to find NDIS funded driving lessons.
- License Conditions
When you meet the requirements for driving lessons and find a good instructor to learn, owning a license is not a faraway dream.
In your license, you will have certain special conditions added related to your disability. This also means you can only drive a vehicle that meets those conditions.
For instance, if you can only use one leg for pedals, your license condition will state that you are only eligible to drive an automatic car as one-foot mobility is not enough to manage the brake and accelerator.
If you are planning to go for NDIS funded driving lessons, you are first supposed to determine whether your NDIS plan has learning to drive as one of the goals.
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Driving is not something you can learn quickly – it requires considerable concentration, patience, and hard work. So, you will need someone as an instructor who is knowledgeable and seasoned to guide you on the right track.
Further, as per your state, you will have to undergo specific assessments to acquire your license. Remember, you will also have to drive as per the conditions listed in your license.
Ultimately, you will get the chance to lead a more independent life.