Understanding what an Occupational Therapist does
Driving is easy and straightforward, right? You jump in the car to drive to work or meet up with family or friends without thinking about what you’re doing. It’s a skill most of us take for granted.
The truth is: Driving is an important and complex skill.
Driving is a complicated task that involves a number of different skills that must be carried out simultaneously. The challenge arises when you have a medical condition that impacts on your ability to drive.
It’s not about whether you’re a good driver.
It’s not about tricking you to take away your licence.
Quite the opposite. An OT Driving Assessment is about giving you the opportunity to find ways to keep you on the road.
That’s where a Driver-Trained Occupational Therapist comes in.
What does an Occupational Therapist do?
An Occupational Therapist helps people carry out everyday tasks to maintain or gain (more) independence and live their best lives. These tasks or activities can range from brushing your teeth and eating breakfast to having a shower and driving a car.
There are two approaches to work with people to achieve greater independence:
- Make changes to a person’s environment to support them
- Work with people to improve particular skills
As mentioned before, driving is a complex skill that can be impacted by a medical condition. For that reason, it’s important to determine to what extent this medical condition affects your ability to drive.
An experienced Occupational Therapist who’s completed post-graduate qualifications in Driver Training has the necessary skills to competently assess your medical fitness to drive, as required by the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) in NSW.
A Driver-Trained Occupational Therapist and OT Driving Assessments
As mentioned before, driving is a complex task requiring multiple skills:
Moreover, these tasks must be carried out in a constantly changing and unpredictable environment. For that reason, the RMS requires drivers to meet certain legal standards, as set out in the Austroads Assessing Fitness to Drive for commercial and private vehicle drivers.
The best way to assess a person with a medical condition on their ability to drive is to be observed by a health professional to appraise their cognitive, physical and visual skills while driving. A paper-based assessment isn’t sufficient.
A Driver-Trained Occupational Therapist uses an off-road and on-road Driving Assessment to determine the impact of a medical condition on a person’s ability to drive.
Safety is the first priority.
A second priority is to assist people to maintain or regain their driver’s licence by recommending certain restrictions (e.g., geographical distance) or prescribe vehicle modifications.
Driving is a complex task involving cognitive, physical and visual skills while navigating an ever-changing and unpredictable environment. For that reason, a Driver-Trained Occupational Therapist is the health professional who carries out OT Driving Assessments to help people maintain or gain their independence.