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Posts Tagged ‘independence’

Hi Again!

OK, sometimes I get on my “soap box” about certian topics, and driving is one of them. The next post will be another – standing frames!

Because of my own particular situation of having a son that was 18 at the time of his injury, driving was one of the things he wanted to figure out ASAP. Also, because Darren had been very independent prior to his injury, his personality did not change after the fact. So we had to start thinking about a vehicle and driving as soon as he was able to handle it from a strength standpoint.

Again, this is my own experience, and I know a lot of people with SCI don’t have the financial resources to do what we did. I understand that. We were able to purchase an accessible vehicle, and that made a huge difference. Darren was so anxious to get out and about, and he was so tired of asking for rides here and there, I knew he would do so much more if he could drive on his own.

While a van was not the vehicle of choice for a hip 19 year old, Darren realized it offered the most for his situation. From the beginning to now, there have been a few phases of Darren’s driving:

At first, he drove from his power chair (which he used all of the time) with an easy lock mechanism to lock into place. When he started using his manual wheelchair more often, he actually transferred from his manual chair into the power chair and drove from that. Then we purchased a 6 way power base driver seat, which moves back and forth, up and down and swivels side to side. He transfers into that, and drives from the driver’s seat. He finds it very comfortable, especially for the long drives he takes (more on that in a future blog, possibly!).

All of this points to what driving has afforded Darren – more independence. Of course, I still worry about him driving too late at night, in bad weather conditions, or in areas he’s unfamiliar with. But all parents worry about those things; we just worry more when there are extenuating circumstances like an SCI. I don’t mean to say I don’t.

It all takes SO much time – driving lessons, prescriptions for the correct adaptable equipment, ordering a vehicle, learning to drive it, etc. Sometimes people get so frustrated with the process, that they never take on the challenge of starting to drive. I encourage all of you to seek help in fund raising to help purchase a vehicle, to take the initiative with Vocational Rehab programs, to figure out all that it takes to help someone with an SCI drive again. It is well worth the effort and can provide so much independence and freedom to all those involved.

Let me know if you have any questions and maybe I can provide some insights to help you!  

Cynthia

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