Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) Archives - Driving Mobility

East Anglian DriveAbility ensures Michael is safe to drive with early Alzheimer’s

East Anglian DriveAbility (EAD) has given Michael Burton from Chelmsford the all clear to continue driving with early stage dementia.

Part of the Driving Mobility national network of driving assessment centres, East Anglian DriveAbility (EAD) has given Michael Burton from Chelmsford the all clear to continue driving with early stage dementia.

Driving Mobility oversees twenty independent organisations which offer professional support and driving assessments to people who need to gain, or retain, the ability to drive following a diagnosis involving impairment or disability. EAD is part of this network with centres in Thetford and Colchester. In addition to driving assessments, its Occupational Therapists and Driving Advisors provide several additional services including guidance regarding specialist paediatric car seats and mobility scooters.

Following his diagnosis Michael was referred by the DVLA to East Anglian DriveAbility for a comprehensive fitness-to-drive assessment. Michael’s wife, Sharon, comments: “Being diagnosed with dementia doesn’t mean that Michael has to stop driving immediately, however the DVLA do require confirmation that my husband is safe to continue. We didn’t have to wait long for an assessment date at the Colchester centre.”

Michael attended EAD in November 2018 where he was professionally assessed by an Occupational Therapist and an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI). They explained the process and collected detailed information regarding his medical background and driving experience. Michael then undertook a series of cognitive and perceptual tests which assessed how his brain interprets what he sees around him and the way this information is used for planning. Sharon expands: “We were very impressed with the thoroughness of the assessment and the supportive attitude of the EAD team. Michael was shown road signs to identify and asked the speed limits for various types of roads. His eyesight was checked to see if he could read number plates at the legally required distance and his peripheral vision was tested. We were pleased that he passed the required target levels within this part of the assessment.”

For the second part Michael was accompanied by an ADI and Occupational Therapist during a road test in a dual-controlled vehicle. Michael’s steering, braking and reactions were monitored as well as his speed and decision-making. On return to the centre the specialist staff presented their finding to Michael and Sharon. Sharon explains: “Everything was absolutely fine, which was a relief to both of us. The staff were very informative. They explained that Michael’s awareness and anticipation were at a good level, as were his road positioning and understanding of width and distance.”

Following Michael’s assessment, EAD have provided the DVLA with a detailed written report and requested that Michael attends regular follow-up assessments. Whilst the Burtons understand a time will come when Michael will need to stop driving, they feel reassured that EAD will be monitoring the situation closely and offering professional support.

Sharon concludes: “EAD have really been very helpful and friendly – we couldn’t fault the assessment process. The staff were meticulous with their questions whilst making Michael feel at ease from the beginning. It was obvious that they understood our needs and situation. I have already recommended EAD’s services to new friends we have made at a local Alzheimer’s group. Michael is still in the early stages of dementia but moving forwards, we are happy that EAD will continue to assess his cognitive and driving abilities. It lessens the worry for both of us by knowing we are in good hands.”

 

#MyDrivingMobility

Driving Mobility’s RDAC Salford assessment centre enables Diana to get back behind the wheel

Overcoming her health challenges, Diana, has regained invaluable driving independence through the support of the new RDAC Driving Assessment centre in Salford

Overcoming her health challenges, Diana Whittaker from Sale, has regained invaluable driving independence through the support of the new RDAC Driving Assessment centre in Salford, Manchester.

The charity, Driving Mobility, accredits a UK network of twenty independent organisations which offer professional support and driving assessments to people who need to gain, or retain, the ability to drive following a diagnosis involving impairment or disability. The new, custom-built RDAC centre in Salford serves people from Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Cheshire with assessments and practical advice for older and disabled drivers, passengers, motorcyclists and mobility scooter or wheelchair users.

Diana lives with a variety of health issues including Cerebral Palsy, which in particular affects her limbs, and Osteoporosis. She has pins in her lower spine, a hip replacement and has experienced cancer twice. Due to health changes and deteriorating mobility, Diana found that she could no longer drive her Motability car with ease or in comfort, which subsequently led to a decrease in driving ability and confidence.

Diana comments: “I can walk short distances but as the strength in my lower limbs and knees has decreased, I find I am now more wheelchair reliant. Unfortunately, over the years, I gradually stopped driving as my vehicle adaptations did not suit my altered health requirements and were not providing suitable assistance. My husband and daughter have been very supportive in driving me around. However, I recently decided that if I could update my vehicle adaptations and return to driving, then it would take some of the pressure away them.”

After researching with her daughter, Diana discovered the organisation Driving Mobility and applied for a referral via Motability. In due course, a driving assessment was arranged, in May 2018, at the newly opened RDAC centre in Salford.

Diana comments: “I was very organised and prepared everything in advance that I could think of. I contacted the DVLA to inform them of changes to my health and upgraded my licence to the photo version. I also made sure when I went for my assessment that I took my driving glasses, pip award and lists of medication. On the day I was very nervous as I hadn’t driven for nearly ten years. However, being welcomed by Sean Barratt, RDAC’s Assessment Team Manager, as well as John Allen, Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) and Rebecca King, Occupational Therapist soon set me at ease. The interest they showed in my needs and abilities really reassured me. I received a medical assessment and we discussed my general mobility. They really wanted to understand my true range of movement and strength so that they could help me in the most effective way.”

The Centre staff accompanied Diana for a short driving assessment and then recommended she try a variety of vehicle controls and adaptations that might make driving easier, including an over-ring accelerator and push-brake through to various cushions to enhance seating comfort.

Diana comments: “John and Becky didn’t just assess my driving – they assessed how parts of my body moved, such as my shoulders and arms. They seemed to know exactly what I needed and constantly checked how I was feeling. It was very much a slow and steady pace whilst I familiarized myself with the controls and driving but overall, I felt really safe. I was thrilled to be able to trial so many adaptations, particularly the over-ring accelerator as I had previously been unsuccessful in finding anywhere to try one.”

Diana received two assessments at RDAC followed by six lessons paid for by Motability. She was provided with feedback and reports from Driving Mobility which she used to keep the DVLA and Motability up to date with her progress. The reports also recommended the adaptations and controls that Diana would require on an automatic vehicle to enable her to return to driving effectively.

Diana concludes: “I am delighted to report that I am now back behind the wheel! I am continuing with a few more lessons to build up my road confidence but I am very much enjoying driving my new Nissan QashQai which has been adapted by Motability. I use a Guido Simplex over-ring, an electric handbrake as well as a push brake and four-way hoist – all recommended by the RDAC team.  I really want to emphasise how friendly and encouraging they have been. I haven’t felt any pressure or panic throughout. So few mobility organisations offer these services – you might be able to find someone to demonstrate a push-pull knob but trialling an over-ring is another thing. I can’t thank RDAC enough for the opportunities, feedback and advice I have been given. They have some of the best people I have met – a true dream team!”.

Stockport stroke survivor regains driving independence through Driving Mobility’s new flagship RDAC Manchester centre

Philip Wilson, 62, from Stockport, has regained his driving life-line after experiencing a stroke thanks to the support of the new Regional Driving Assessment Centre (RDAC) in Greater Manchester, part of the Driving Mobility network.

Disabled driver

Philip Wilson, 62, from Stockport, has regained his driving life-line after experiencing a stroke thanks to the support of the new Regional Driving Assessment Centre (RDAC) in Greater Manchester, part of the Driving Mobility network.

The charity, Driving Mobility, accredits a UK network of twenty independent organisations which offer professional support and driving assessments to people who need to gain, or retain, the ability to drive following a diagnosis involving impairment or disability. RDAC is part of this network and has been in existence since 1989 – it provides assessments for older and disabled drivers, passengers, motorcyclists and mobility scooter or wheelchair users. Within its services practical advice is given regarding appropriate driving adaptations, WAVs (Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles) and specialist tuition so that domestic and professional drivers can remain independent and safe. The new, custom-built RDAC centre in Salford represents a ‘flagship’ modern facility servicing people from Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Cheshire.

Following his stroke in January 2016, which resulted in left-side paralysis, Philip spent six months in hospital undergoing rehabilitation and physiotherapy. Once discharged, Philip requested to have his driving licence returned and was delighted when it came back with no restrictions. Philip comments: “I have always been active and mobile. Originally from Liverpool, I was in the navy until 1981. Shortly before my stroke, I worked in International Sales, leaving home on a Monday and returning on a Friday. I spent a lot of time driving and covered about 30,000 miles each year. Being able to drive is important to me and I was thrilled to have my licence back.”

However, due to his left-side weakness and eighteen months without driving, Philip found he had lost confidence and was unsure how to proceed. He had purchased an automatic car but could not find a driving instructor with an automatic dual-controlled vehicle to provide tuition and guidance. Following an online search, Philip contacted RDAC who invited him for a self-referral assessment.

Philip comments: “The Centre staff were welcoming and helpful. I met with Sean Barrett, the Assessment Team Manager, and John Allen, an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI). The assessment they gave me was very thorough. They asked me about my stroke and rehabilitation and also about any medication I was taking. I had cognitive and visual tests and I could see they were observing the way I walked and talked. It was very detailed and I really felt I was in safe hands.”

Philip was then accompanied for a drive in a dual-controlled automatic vehicle and was able to try different adaptations that promote safe and comfortable driving. As Philip finds using left-side controls a challenge, such as the indicators, RDAC recommended a steering ball as well as a Bluetooth device which allows a driver to operate everything with one hand. The centre also provided a written report and details of external Approved Driving Instructors.

Following his RDAC assessment, Philip is driving with confidence again, supported by assistive vehicle adaptations. He is now able to visit the gym three times a week, with rehabilitation exercises specifically aimed at improving functionality.

Philip comments: “A stroke wipes out the memory bank in terms of movement, so I have had to retrain my body to do basic things. In fact, when I first left hospital, I had a competition with my little granddaughter to see who could walk first! My driving assessment was part of this retraining and the Centre’s response was so positive that the boost to my confidence has been huge. I thought “I can do this” – and I have. The Driving Mobility centres offer such a good service to people who are struggling with driving confidence. They have given me my independence back – an absolute life-line for me.”

Disabled driver
Philip Wilson in the driving seat with RDAC’s Sean Barratt, Assessment Team Manager (right) and John Allen, Approved Driving Instructor (left).

 

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