Driving Rehabilitation Program
Many disabled people can enjoy the independence and convenience of having a driver's license. The Occupational Therapy Department at the University of Washington Medical Center conducts a program to evaluate and instruct individuals with disabilities for driving potential. Participants in the Driving Rehabilitation Program receive specialized drivers training, and if needed, assistance in the selection of adaptive equipment, and instruction in its use.
Who Is Eligible?
Any disabled person who applies to the program will be considered. Applicants must be physically stable, with a good driving record, and able to maintain good judgement in driving emergencies. The driving program evaluates persons with disabilities such as:
- Alzheimer's Disease
- Cerebral Palsy
- Head Injury
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Neurological Problems
- Spinal Cord Injury
How to Apply
A physician must refer applicants to the Driving Rehabilitation Program. To complete the referral process, the following materials must be forwarded to the Driving Rehabilitation Program:
- Client's phone number and address
- Full medical history
- Funding information
- Physician's prescription
- Psychological history
What Happens Next?
Once a physician refers an applicant to the program, he or she is evaluated by occupational therapists for basic abilities necessary for safe driving. During this assessment, the therapist considers the applicant's:
- Direction following skills
- Learning ability
- Problem solving skills
- Range of motion
- Reaction time
- Visual acuity
- Visual perception
- Visual scanning
Clients with significant mobility or strength limitations can use the program's specially equipped vehicles, which offer reduced-effort steerting, pneumatic hand controls, touch button controls, and ramp/lift systems.
The Program's occupational therapists are qualified on-street driving instructors who can help clients prepare for their license examinations with "hands-on" experience in a modified van or automobile.
The Program does not license drivers. Upon completion of training, clients may arrange to use of the program's modified vehicles when they take the driver's examination required by the Washington State Department of Licensing.
Please call 206-598-1805 for current information about fees and a list of organizations that may be able to assist with driving instruction costs.
For more information, please call or write to:
Driving Rehabilitation Program Coordinator
Department of Rehabilitation Medicine
Division of Occupational Therapy
University of Washington Medical Center
PO Box 356490
Seattle, WA 98195-6490