Driving

Girl standing by carDriving is something that many teens look forward to. Having a teen with hemiplegia can make a parent ask themselves, “Will my child be able to drive and drive safely?” The majority of teens with hemiplegia are able to drive; however, there are some considerations which should be taken into account before your teen begins behind the wheel training.

Some of these include:

Seizures

If your child has seizures or takes medication for seizures, check with your individual state concerning the licensing requirements. Many states require that the driver to be seizure free for a certain period of time.

Cognitive Delays & Vision

Driving involves many thought processes at once and for those who have delays in this area a driving assessment test may be needed. There are professionals who will assess whether or not either of these would affect the child’s ability to drive.

Modifications

Those who are affected on their right side may need a left gas pedal accelerator due to the cross over of the legs and the lack of sensation which is needed to feel how much pressure is applied to the pedals.

There are also many other modifications that can be made to cars to help those with hemiplegia drive safely. These include a steering wheel knob and other hand controls. A professional can help you make decisions about car modifications.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Once again they are learning to do something with only one hand/foot while everyone else does this with two. Don’t be alarmed if it takes your child longer to accomplish driving. Just like everything else, they will eventually learn in their own time and their own way.

Contact your local Dept. of Motor Vehicles, United Cerebral Palsy, and Dept. of Vocational Rehabilitation. Your child’s driver education instructor may be able to put you in contact with other resources available in your area.

Association of Driver Rehabilitation Specialists

Infinitec – Accessible Driving-driving assessments, vehicle modifications, and equipment dealers.

NHTSA Adapting Motor Vehicles for People with Disabilities

Some auto manufacturers may offer rebates or reimbursements on new vehicle modification. Some states may refund the sales tax on a car purchase if the car will primarily be driven by a person with a disability.