Occupational therapy and driving

Occupational therapy involves the use of activities to aid in the recovery of individuals who suffer from a physical injury or mental illness. The therapy aims to give back individuals their independence so that they can have fulfilling lives. Task include going to the shops for groceries, interacting in social interactions or even driving.

The therapy can be applied to many different individuals including the elderly, those who suffer from a physical injury or who have a mental illness. It can also benefit children and early adolescents if they require attention.

If you are undergoing occupational therapy you may be required to do a driving occupational therapy assessment. Driving is definitely seen as a necessity in life so aiding individuals to get their driving permission back is vital.

Unlike most daily life tasks, driving is a complex task for anyone that requires a lot of cognitive, visual and physical ability. If any of these factors changes due to injury, age or illness you will have to seek an alternative driving assessment.

These are the mains things you need to know when trying to obtain your driving permission.

Occupational therapists are there to help

Occupational therapists (OTs) are health professionals who are there to assist you in every way possible. The OTs that conduct the driving assessments do have post-graduate training that they have completed.

When people’s skills have been compromised due any reason OTs are required to intervene when establishing whether the individual can still operate a motor vehicle. People suffering from the following conditions can benefit from seeing an OT to help them get their license back;

  • Physical injuries (including spinal and brain injuries)
  • Amputations
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Dementia
  • Those suffering from a stroke or memory issues
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Multiple sclerosis

What does the driving occupational therapy assessment involve?

The test involves two components that are an on road assessment and an off road assessment. The off road component involves determining what factors will affect an individual’s ability to drive according to the guidelines of the RMS.

The component involves a;

  • A medical consultation
  • An information gathering session
  • Review of any taken medication
  • Visual function assessment
  • Knowledge of road law and road craft
  • Physical assessment
  • Cognitive and perceptual screening

The on road component is the actual driving part of the assessment where the assessor judges the person’s medical conditions and how they affect their driving ability as well as any equipment modifications that are required during driving.

The information that is gathered during the assessment is relayed between the OT and the instructor (can be both at times) and any recommendations are then forwarded to the individual.

Usually the assessor will meet at the house of the individual a couple of hours beforehand, the time varies depending on condition.

Once the assessment is complete the RMS will be contacted of the results and any amending program will be carried out if necessary.

If you are undergoing occupational therapy and don’t think you will be able to drive ever again there are solutions for you. There are driving occupation therapy assessments available that take into consideration any medical conditions and modifications needed in order for an individual to drive.

There are many services and businesses available that specialise in this type of field that are always happy to help. They usually are free to take any questions in order to help you with your process.