What does Driver Rehabilitation mean?

Clients would require assessment by a Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist  (CDRS) who has the knowledge of disability.  They have experience with identifying if a person has the potential to use safe driving methods, and possibly adaptive equipment, to operate a vehicle. These professionals are specially trained to ensure that your individual needs are addressed and considered when outlining recommendations for the next steps to independence on the road.

Who would benefit from an Adaptive Driving Assessment?
Anyone who has been inflicted with an illness which limits the use of a body part required to operate a vehicle.  This may include those with Spina Bifida, cerebral palsy, learning challenges, visual challenges, epilepsy, neurologic conditions, head injury, orthopedic injury, diabetics … anyone who has experienced an illness that may negatively impact their coordination to operate controls of a vehicle.
What does the initial assessment include?

Comprehensive screening of multiple visual functions, physical abilities, cognitive skills, objective reaction times and additional specialized testing to meet the needs of the individual.  For those individuals requiring the use of mobility devices the assessment will include a review of this element of function as well. The assessment findings will be reviewed in detail with the client and their support system to determine the next steps in the process.    Testing takes 90 min to 2 hours depending on the individual.  As a rule, this portion does not include an actual behind the wheel driving assessment.  

What if I do well in the clinical assessment?

For those demonstrating the ability to complete the assessments without issue a behind-the-wheel assessment will be scheduled.    As part of the recommendations it will be determined as to when the ideal time and location will be for this assessment.   The need for special vehicle modification will be determined in the clinical assessment and these will be trialed during the behind-the-wheel assessment

What is Adaptive Driving Equipment?

Some individuals experience illnesses or injuries that may affect their ability to safely operate a vehicle as created by the manufacturer.   For some it may be as simple as adding a spinner knob to the steering wheel to accommodate for losing the use of one arm/hand. Others may need to function from a wheelchair to access a vehicle which would require them to use a customize van with a ramp, lowered floor and various devices to enable operation of the vehicle using only their hands.   All assessments are specific to the individual. The vendor guidelines require that a Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist create a prescription for the equipment needed to allow them to safely operate a vehicle with their given challenges.

How do I get an appointment for an assessment?

All services will begin with a referral from a medical professional (i.e.:  Primary doctor, APRN, PA, neurologist, physiatrist, gerontologist, podiatrist, eye specialist, ortho specialist, chiropractor).

The referral must include a medical diagnosis as well as a complete list of past medical history and current medications.   Once this is received a representative of The Next Street Driver Rehab Program will contact you to set up an appointment.

Transportation Considerations for getting to the appointment

It is the policy of The Next Street that all clients have available transportation to/from the assessment.   For many reasons it has been found that this is the safest method of practice. For most, fatigue and anxiety from the clinical assessment influence motor skills and attention span. The behind-the-wheel assessment is best completed on an alternate day and following any interventions recommended by the therapist in the clinical portion of the assessment.

What if I have never had a license. Can I be assessed?

Yes.   The Next Street has as team of professionals prepared to assess all aspects of your abilities to guide you through the process of determining if driving is a safe task for you.

The Comprehensive assessment will be the first stop to gather facts about your strengths and recommendations will be outlined for the next steps in your process.   We treat all clients as an individual and attend to their goal of becoming independent

Can I participate in an assessment if I do not have a driver permit or license?

YES!!!!    One of the reasons for completing the assessment is to help determine your readiness to safely operate a vehicle.   Recommendations will be made for possible interventions to enhance your skills before pursuing a driver permit.

Who pays for the assessment?

Insurances do not cover driver training.  They may cover an assessment by the Occupational Therapist out-of-network.

Some school programs/counselors may assist a family with the fee for an initial assessment as part of the IEP and preparation for planning the future.

Support from the Department of Development Services may be available since they have occasional grants to support individuals in need

If working the Bureau of Rehab Services would be a resource to assist with the assessment and purchase of adaptive driving equipment (must follow the lengthy process).

For those with no license or permit:

We can and want to assess them.   We will still need the same forms.    Note that when working with the younger population there may be situations without a medication list since they are not using any.

Referrals can be received by efax  860-945-9018 , email or standard mail

Payment Options

If you plan to have the services covered by a third party payer, authorization must be received in writing prior to making an appointment.   Full payment is expected before the services will be provided. Third Party payers might include: workers compensation, vocational rehab services, independent living rehab services, school services/IEP, or  Family Trusts. Please contact us with questions regarding additional options.    If requested you will be provided with a Super Bill which can be submitted by the client to their insurance for out-of-network provider reimbursement.

Preparation for the assessment:

Ensure you bring all eye glasses used (reading and distance)

Your photo Identification or valid driver license/permit

Completed paperwork (client questionnaire)

A driver for transportation to and from the assessment

If needed bring a snack and beverage of choice

We ask that you refrain from cologne due to allergy sensitivities

Please be mindful of smoking odors since allergy sensitivity can be an issue in the clinic