OT DriveWise is a client focused practice in occupational therapy driving assessment and training.
Thankfully, the NDIS has facilitated the expansion of driving training for young people with disability. It is a new frontier for many of our of clients on the Autism spectrum and/or with learning difficulties, as they may now receive funding for specialised driving lessons. In the past these young people may not have had a choice about learning to drive and the cost was often too high to consider.
The general assumption of ‘10 driving lessons will cover the learning required’ does not work for our clients, including those on the Autism spectrum. Often they need 30 to 50 lessons to get the learnings. Research shows that situation awareness, hazard perception and timely decision making takes significantly more practice for young drivers on the Autism spectrum.
Occupational Therapy driving programs are structured differently to traditional driving lessons, as there are more factors involved and more variables to consider. Training programs are tiered to include physical skills for controlling the car, cognitive skills and decision making, identifing possible risks or dangers on or near the road and what to do about them, and risk exposure.
Patience is key, as is having very good relationships to ensure that communication flows and that our client’s preferences and needs are met and understood.