A Step by Step Guide to Becoming a Driver Rehabilitation Specialist
Your Guide to the Best Career as an Occupational Therapist!
First and foremost, I am completely biased! I am an OT with advanced training in driving rehab. Somehow, I have both my ADED certification as a driver rehabilitation specialist (CDRS) and AOTA Speciality Certification in Driving & Community Mobility (SCDCM). This officially makes me a self-proclaimed driving geek! I believe this area of practice is one of, if not the best. It challenges all of my skills and honestly and I feel like I am doing something really valuable.
Are you like me? And do you love driving? Are you looking to be inspired? Or are you looking for a change of pace? Either way, if you want some insider tips on how to get into the field of driving rehab, read on!
How the Heck do I Become a Driver Rehab Specialist?
As you start out, you might be asking how the heck do I get into this field? Let me break down the process for you and share the path I followed to become a DRS.
Step 1: Gain advanced clinical knowledge
If you are going to do this job, you need to expand your OT skills! First, start by finding education that speaks directly to your skills as an OT and expands your driving evaluation skills. Look for education to prepare you in the clinic AND in the car.
Adaptive Mobility Services, Part 1 In the Clinic: Building Blocks is a perfect example of the education you need! This bundle includes 10 courses focused on building a solid driving rehab foundation. Learn to complete comprehensive clinical driving evaluations and prepare for in-car work.
Part 1 In the Clinic: Building Blocks includes 10 courses for a total of 25 hours of education:
- OT for Driving & Community Mobility (1.5 hours)
- Overview of the Driving Evaluation & Rehab Process (1.5 hours)
- Initiating the Eval Process (2.5 hours)
- Evaluation using the Clinical Interview (1 hour)
- VISUAL & Hearing Performance Skills for D&CM (2.5 hours)
- PHYSICAL Performance Skills for D&CM (3.0 hours)
- COGNITIVE Performance Skills for D&CM (3.0 hours)
- Summarizing the Clinical Process (5 hours)
- Population-Specific Considerations for Driving (4 hours)
- Foundational Driver Rehabilitation Resources to guide OT Practice (1 hour)
Adaptive Mobility is the longest and best-known driving rehab education provider around. We have been providing high-quality education to practitioners for over 30 years. OTs who complete our Building Blocks Bundle gain a strong understanding of how to provide, interpret, & analyze a clinical driving evaluation. OTs that complete Part 1 Building Blocks are then ready for Part 2: Take the Wheel Bundle.
Step 2: Gain advanced driving rehab training IN the car
Listen, as an OT, if you want to learn how to make a dynamic splint – you need to practice making a dynamic splint. The same holds true for driving. If you want to provide driving evaluations, you need to practice being in a driving rehab car. This holds true if you are the OT in the front seat or the back seat. And you need teachers with experience in OT and driving rehab.
Adaptive Mobility Services employs OT Certified Driver Rehab Specialists. AND we are the ONLY workshop education that offers unique hands-on training. In our 3-day workshops, you practice your skills as the OT DRS in the front seat. You get to learn about adaptive equipment and how to control the car from the passenger seat. OTs who take Part 2 In the Car: Take the Wheel Bundle gain over 35 hours of online and hands-on training.
This bundle includes these 7 online courses:
- Grading Vehicle Evaluation & Training
- Preparation for In-Vehicle Work
- Driver Rehabilitation Specialist In-Vehicle Preparation
- DRS Cueing from the Passenger Seat
- Evaluation & Training Strategies
- Driving with Adaptive Equipment
- Summarizing the In-Vehicle Process
And 3 days of live workshop with goals to :
- Identify steps for conducting an in-vehicle assessment
- Understand performance skills required for safe driving
- Recognize basic driver education principles, terminology and task sequencing
- Identify driver education resource materials
- List key features of driving routes based on goals for each individual client
- Describe the evaluation vehicle set up for the instructor
- Learn to use verbal, visual, & physical skills necessary for the specialist to use in the car
- Practice techniques for controlling a car from the right side
- Describe the structure of the in-vehicle phase for assessment and/or training
- Identify the occupational therapy process used in the evaluation vehicle
- Practice beginning level proficiency for documentation of driver performance
Step 3: Building your driving program
Start building your driving program! Where will you be using your newly developed driving rehab skills? Will you be working in a hospital setting, outpatient, or your own private practice? Consider consulting the newest version of OT Manager by AOTA Press. “This new edition includes 78 new chapters that cover leadership and management foundations, organizational planning and culture, navigating change and uncertainty… Each chapter includes learning objectives, key terms, essential considerations and practical applications in occupational therapy, a case example, and relevant ACOTE Standards. The most comprehensive management book in the profession.”
HINT checkout Chapter 13: Building Capacity on implementing a driving program.
In addition, make sure you check out our Liability Considerations & Risk Management Strategies for Driving course. This prepares you for driving liability & risk management considerations!
Step 4: Gain experience as a DRS & find a mentor!
Once you complete your Part 1 & Part 2 education, it is time to practice, practice, practice your skills. We talk about what skills you can start to sharpen right away. AND it is time to find a mentor who can answer your questions, and even be present for your first evaluations with clients.
Step 5: Advance your credentials
As you gain DRS experience, you can then consider applying for the CDRS exam. The Certification as a Driver Rehabilitation Specialists (CDRS) is offered thru the Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists. Visit ADED’s website to learn more about certification requirements. Their certification is exam requires a minimum of 1,664 hours of direct experience as a DRS. Keep in mind this means you need to practice as a DRS before you can become a CDRS.
You might also consider completing the portfolio for AOTA’s Speciality Certification in Driving & Community Mobility. (Keep an eye out for application changes coming in 2020). Also, keep in mind, while the SCDCM designates OTs who are specialists in a range of driving & community mobility skills, being a DRS is not a requirement for this distinction.
Step 6: Mentor others
Lastly, once you become a skilled & experienced DRS, it is time to help mentor others! Mentorship can be fun and easy. Join the Facebook group Driving Rehab for the OT, which is for both mentors & mentees!
Explore all of Adaptive Mobility Services educational course offerings.