But What About Driving?

Why we, as occupational therapy practitioners, must think about driving

The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status or ethnic background, is that, deep down inside, we ALL believe that we are above average drivers.
~Dave Barry, “Things That It Took Me 50 Years to Learn”

For me, like most others, driving means independence, freedom, and mobility. Being able to grab my keys and jump into my car allows me to get to work on time, pick up my daughter from school, and stop by the grocery store for that one last item I forgot for dinner. It means being able to travel to other states to see family, or just down the road to see good friends. Driving connects, supports, and helps to integrate my own life into the world around me. Without driving, I literally feel lost.

  • Now take a moment and think about the last client you treated.
  • How does he/she get around?
  • Is your client a driver or want to return to driving?
  • If this client wanted to go for an impromptu ice cream cone on a hot summer day, would he or she have the means to do so?
  • Have you helped your client to think about not just what has to be done, but what he/she wants to get done?

When we as occupational therapy practitioners think about driving and community mobility for our clients, it opens up a world of opportunities for intervention and support. It pushes us to think beyond our routine, inspires creativity, and helps to address the unique goals of our clients. And while driving will not be a realistic goal for all clients, by thinking about community mobility, even if a client is a long-term care resident, dependent on others, we are thinking about how to support integration into the world and promote, as the American Occupational Therapy Association would say, living life to its fullest.

As an occupational therapy driver rehab specialist with 15 years of experience in this area of practice, I am excited to work with you to build a road between occupational therapy practitioners and the driving rehab specialists. We need enthusiastic occupational therapy practitioners to connect the 500 OT driver rehab specialists out there with the OT across the country.

It takes confidence, competence, and an excitement for this area of practice to effect change and expand the services we provide. If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about this area of practice I encourage you to visit Adaptive Mobility’s education page. Take advantage of the free and online classes. Consider the Part 1: Building Blocks to expand the services you provide in your clinic and join the Part 2: Take the Wheel to become an OT Driver Rehab Specialist. Take advantage of the many free resources to support OT’s role with driving from the American Occupational Therapy Association, Association for Driver Rehab Specialists, Hartford Group, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and many more!

Adaptive Mobility Education: https://adaptivemobility.mykajabi.com/store



Susie Touchinsky

Susie Touchinsky, OTR/L, SCDCM, CDRS is an occupational therapist and certified driver rehabilitation specialist offering decades of experience, knowledge, and professional support for drivers, families, caregivers, and practitioners.