Adaptive Driving

Are you eager to return to driving after an injury or illness? Casa Colina’s Adaptive Driving Program helps to prepare individuals with a wide range of disabilities to drive safely and competently, pass DMV testing, and regain their driving independence.

Our highly trained occupational therapists employ specially equipped vehicles, simulators, customizable adaptive equipment, and a breadth of clinical expertise to get you back behind the wheel. Our program has multiple points of entry to meet your unique needs, offering both On-the-Road Training and Pre-Driver Training.

Who benefits from this program?

The Casa Colina Adaptive Driving Program assists people with a range of medical conditions and disabilities, including but not limited to:

  • Age-related deficits
  • Amputation
  • Arthritis
  • Autism
  • Brain injuries
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Orthopedic injuries
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Stroke

Your helpful passengers.

Program staff includes occupational therapists and Certified Driving Rehabilitation Specialists (CDRS) who are clinical experts in driver training and adaptations. Our therapists will show you how to navigate the road safely by:

  • Recommending adaptive equipment and providing training
  • Offering recommendations for safe driving as accepted by the Department of Motor Vehicles. Note: This program is not affiliated with the DMV.
  • Facilitating interaction with the DMV and adaptive-equipment specialists.
  • Recommending therapy to continue improving driving skills
  • Providing resources for alternative forms of transportation if return to driving is not recommended

What to expect at your first visit.

First, you will receive an approximate two-hour clinical evaluation to assess:

  • Visual scanning and processing
  • Physical abilities
  • Attention, judgment, and reaction time
  • Basic skills in vehicle operation
  • Knowledge of road and traffic situations

The results of your Clinical Evaluation will help determine your specific needs, such as adaptive equipment or modifications, and will help your therapist determine whether to continue On-the-Road Training, consider additional Pre-Driver Training, or explore alternative forms of transportation.

On-the-Road Training: Behind the wheel.

On-the-Road Training starts you off in an isolated setting, such as an empty parking lot, to test basic skills in vehicle operation. After demonstrating these skills, you’ll get on the road to let us gauge your ability in road and traffic situations.

Casa Colina has two specialized vehicles available for On-the-Road Training. Our sedan is designed for safety and comfort, with adaptive features like:

  • Steering knob
  • Hand controls for individuals with decreased lower extremity function
  • Crossover gas pedal for left-foot acceleration if needed
  • Instructor’s brake for added safety
  • Panoramic rear view mirror

Our van is specifically equipped to meet the needs of tetraplegics and includes:

  • Ramp access for those who cannot perform car transfers due to decreased mobility
  • Hand controls and steering knob that may be switched to either side
  • 50% reduced-effort steering to compensate for upper extremity weakness
  • Adaptive mirrors for decreased cervical range of motion
  • Instructor’s brake and engine kill switch for added safety

Once your therapist determines which equipment best meets your needs, they will discuss specific recommendations regarding vehicle choice and the need to purchase any custom equipment.

Pre-Driver Training.

If you’re not ready for On-the-Road Training, our Pre-Driver Training Program is available for continued skill improvement. Pre-Driver Training builds skills and confidence and is a great way to develop driver readiness.

What you’ll need to get started.

To participate in the Adaptive Driving Program, you must obtain the following:

  • Any physician may write a prescription for “Driver Evaluation and Training”
  • A valid driver’s license or permit

For more information or to schedule a Clinical Evaluation, please call Outpatient Services at 909/596-7733, ext. 3500.