Driver rehabilitation is a specialized field of occupational therapy that involves helping individuals who have experienced illness or injury that has affected their ability to drive. The goal of driver rehabilitation is to help these individuals regain the skills and confidence necessary to safely operate a vehicle.
Driver rehabilitation specialists work with individuals who have a wide range of conditions that affect driving ability, including physical disabilities, cognitive impairments, visual deficits, and age-related changes. They may assess the individual’s driving skills, recommend adaptive equipment or modifications to the vehicle, provide driver training and education, and offer strategies for safe driving.
Driver rehabilitation services may be provided in a variety of settings, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and private clinics. Some driver rehabilitation programs also offer behind-the-wheel training to help individuals improve their driving skills in a safe and controlled environment. The ultimate goal of driver rehabilitation is to help individuals with disabilities maintain independence by safely operating a motor vehicle.
To learn more about driver rehabilitation or driving with hand controls in Michigan, view our frequently asked questions about driver rehabilitation or speak with a driver rehabilitation provider near you.
Driver rehabilitation refers to a comprehensive evaluation and training program aimed at helping individuals who have physical, cognitive, or sensory impairments to regain or improve their ability to drive a vehicle safely. The goal of driver rehabilitation is to assist individuals in making informed decisions about their driving ability and to provide them with the necessary skills and strategies to operate a vehicle safely. This may include education about adaptive equipment, vehicle modifications, and training on how to use these adaptations.
Additionally, driver rehabilitation may also involve testing and assessment of an individual's cognitive, physical, and visual abilities to determine their fitness to drive, and to identify any areas in which additional training or support may be required. The ultimate goal is to help individuals who are facing challenges to safely operate a vehicle and maintain their independence and mobility.
A Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist (CDRS®) is a professional who specializes in evaluating and treating individuals with medical or physical conditions that impact their ability to drive. These specialists typically have advanced training and experience in the field of driver rehabilitation, as well as knowledge of driving laws, vehicle modifications, and other relevant topics. They work with individuals with a wide range of conditions, including traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, amputation, stroke, and others.
The goal of a CDRS is to help individuals maintain or regain their independence and mobility by providing evaluations, recommendations, and training to help them safely operate a vehicle.
The CDRS certification is offered by the Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists (ADED), which sets standards for the field and provides ongoing training and education to its members.
ADED — The Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists is a professional organization that represents individuals who specialize in working with individuals with disabilities to evaluate their driving skills and provide rehabilitation services. The mission of the ADED is to promote safe and efficient mobility for individuals with disabilities through education, advocacy, and the advancement of the driver rehabilitation specialist profession.
The organization provides its members with a variety of resources and opportunities, including educational events and workshops, a professional certification program, a peer-reviewed journal, and access to a network of professionals who are knowledgeable in the field of driver rehabilitation. ADED also works with government agencies and other organizations to advance policies and programs that support the needs of individuals with disabilities who require driver rehabilitation services.
A pre-driving screening is a clinical assessment conducted by a driver rehabilitation specialist. The assessment tests visual skills, reaction time, strength, range of motion, cognitive processing speed, memory, and basic driving knowledge.
For an on-the-road assessment, a driver rehabilitation specialist observes the driver's driving skills in a dual-controlled vehicle. The assessment may be conducted in a variety of settings. This may include a parking lot, and/or a light to heavy traffic road, including the expressway, if appropriate. If adaptive equipment is recommended, such as hand controls, the driver will have the opportunity try different equipment options to determine which solution will be the best fit.
In almost all cases, additional training will be recommended after determing what adaptive equipment will provide the individual's best driving solution. The training provides the driver more practice using adaptive equipment and learning safe driving strategies prior to taking the required road test with the State of Michigan.
Typically, health insurance (including Medicare and Medicaid) do not cover the cost of driver rehabilitiation. Options for possible funding sources include:
Auto no-fault insurance
Kelly's Kidz Foundation - Driving Grant for Teens
Michigan Bureau of Services for Blind Persons
Michigan Crime Victim Compensation
Michigan Rehabilitation Services (MRS)
Michigan Workers' Disability Compensation Agency
US Department of Veterans Affairs