This is undertaken by an Occupational Therapist and involves assessment and advice regarding a child/young person's ability to access and be seated in a vehicle safely and comfortably.
The assessment will be tailored to the individual, but may cover the following areas:
We have a number of access and seating solutions available for trial at our Thetford centre including Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles, a small range of mainstream and specialist child carseats (including a Hip Spica model), safety restraint options, swivel seats (for those not requiring a carseat), a wheelchair swivel seat system, wheelchair/scooter boot hoists, transfer boards and other basic equipment. We also have information and knowledge regarding a wide range of other equipment and vehicles, which the Occupational Therapist would be able to advise on. Advice regarding funding options will also be provided where possible.
If required, the Occupational Therapist can follow up the assessment with a written report which will include any recommended solutions. This may be used to support applications for funding through Motability or charities.
Keen to learn to drive? Unsure whether you would be able to?
Our team of Occupational Therapists and Driving Advisors can assess your potential to learn to drive and offer advice on any adaptations or specialist help that you may need to make this possible.
The first part of our assessment process will start off with a chat to find out about how your condition affects you, your lifestyle, level of independence etc. We may then test your physical and cognitive abilities and vision, before moving onto our Static Assessment Rig (simulator). This will give you a chance to try operating an accelerator, brake and steering wheel, while allowing us to measure things like your strength, movement, reactions and following of instruction, in the safety of the assessment room. We can fit the Rig with some adaptations for you to try, if you are unable to operate the ‘regular’ controls.
If these assessments are successful and we have a suitable vehicle* (see note below), you will then undertake an in-car introductory drive with our Driving Advisor in a dual-controlled vehicle. This will usually take place using our off-road facility, sometimes progressing onto the public highway (if you have a Provisional Licence).
After your drive, the assessment team will discuss the results of all parts of the assessment with you and make their recommendations. This will then be followed up with a comprehensive written report which will be sent to you (if you or Motability paid for your assessment) or to the appropriate referring agency.
Thanks to our off-road facilities, a Provisional Licence is not essential for this type of assessment. This means that you can attend EAD prior to applying for a licence. You might want to do this if you are unsure whether to spend money applying for a licence, or are keen to plan ahead so you can get the ball rolling as soon as possible when you are old enough.
Note* We have a range of vehicles fitted with popular adaptations (such as push/pull hand controls, left-foot accelerator, centre-ring accelerators, radial hand controls etc) which we are able to use for in-car assessments. However, clients sometimes require a more specialist vehicle for their assessment. If this is the case, we have a "Drive from Wheelchair" vehicle and also have access to vehicles with more "hi-tech" controls by special arrangement, but you will need to book an extended appointment to allow more time to be spent in-car.
If you are unsure whether or not you will need to book a longer, specialist vehicle assessment, please give our administrators as much information as you can and they will help to guide you. They may pass you on to one of our Occupational Therapists to discuss your needs in more detail prior to booking. Even then, it may not be possible to determine your full needs until you have completed the first part of the assessment, in which case we would arrange for you to come back on another day for the drive.
We are able to suggest local Approved Driving Instructors (ADIs) who offer structured, specialist tuition for disabled young people who require adaptations or have special learning needs.
We are happy to get in touch with them (if you want us to) to advise them of your unique learning style and any adaptations and techniques that we feel would help.
In the past, we have been asked by organisations (such as Special Schools) to provide an off-road driving experience day for groups of youngsters with disabilities. We are able to arrange this by special request (and subject to demand) for youngsters who are aged 15years upwards.
Some youngsters may have a condition or disability (such as epilepsy or sight impairment) which means they would not meet DVLA medical standards for a provisional driving licence. This can be frustrating, particularly when friends (able-bodied and disabled) begin to learn to drive. We therefore offer this opportunity to ‘have a go’ at operating a car to these youngsters also.
Safety is of course a high priority and all the vehicles used can be fully controlled by the accompanying driving instructor.
This can be a great, fun day out! Please get in touch with the centre if you are interested and ask to speak to Isabel or Mel.
We are currently working towards offering a short-term loan service for specialist carseats (particularly for Hip Spica), harnesses/restraints and other pieces of equipment.
We will update this page with details when this is up and running.
Although we would recommend going through the child/young person’s NHS Occupational Therapist or Wheelchair Services if possible, some children/young people may not meet NHS criteria for a wheelchair and/or may wish to obtain their own wheelchair or scooter
In this case, our Occupational Therapists can assess and provide impartial advice regarding whether a wheelchair or scooter is a suitable option, which type and what to look for when purchasing. The assessment will be tailored to your needs but may cover the following areas:
The assessment will also include some indoor and outdoor training (on our purpose built training track) in the safe use of a wheelchair/scooter and address other considerations such as storage, loading into a vehicle etc.
We can also provide training-only if required to build confidence and skills in using a powered wheelchair or scooter.