Wouldn't you hate it if, for whatever reason, you couldn't drive anymore? The inconvenience of having to rely on someone else to get you somewhere can be frustrating.
In this Avera Medical Minute, we have more on the Drive Smart Program now offered through Avera McKennan's Rehabilitation Services and how it's helping a wide variety of people get back on the road safely.
27 year old Chris Buhl values his independence. The Minnesota native has been driving since he was 16. He went through special training in the Twin Cities to learn how to drive a specially equipped van using only his arms.
Chris says, "I learned on hand controls and zero effort steering and that's still what I use today."
He wasn't going to let Becker Muscular Dystrophy get in the way of getting behind the wheel.
Chris says, "Not always having to depend on someone else is a huge part of my independence.I drive to the grocery story, I drive to work. It's important to me."
Occupational Therapist Angie Schrader is spearheading the new Drive Smart Program in Sioux Falls at the Avera McKennan Rehabilitation Services at the McGreevy Clinic at 69th and Western. She uses a simulator to help track areas where the driver needs help.
Schrader says, "I want to see if they can respond appropriately by the light stimulus. This gives me a percentage of how they do on a variety of difference scenarios."
The people she sees can be elderly, people who have had strokes or people with disabilities, to name a few.
Schrader says, "When I think of how much we rely on driving for our independence to do our normal day to day tasks, it's so vitally important for individuals especially in today's society to do their day to day activities and not have to rely on someone else if they can."
After they go through the clinical evaluation which usually takes about an hour if all goes well, then they get behind the wheel of a specially made Drive Smart car. That training, depending on how much they need can also take an hour."
Schrader says, "It's a nice safe environment where we can get them out into the environment. We start slow and see how they do in the actual situation."
For Chris Buhl, specialized training is invaluable because for him it's been the key to his independence
Call 3-CAR-SAF OR 322-7723 for more information or www.averamckennan.org