A big part of adult independence is being able to get yourself around.

And that was the topic of a free webinar called “Driving with a Disability,” presented today by Chapel Haven Schleifer Center, to be repeated next Thursday, May 28 at 11 a.m. EST. Register for Thursday, May 28

Co-presenter Andrew Arboe shared that he had to quiet the nagging voice in his head that said he could not pass a driving test or ever get a license. “My motivation was high,” he said. “I refused to believe that I can’t drive.”

It was when Arboe got a job with Autism Families Connecticut that he really got serious about getting his license, since he knew he would have to drive to events. “It started the seeds of me believing that I can really do this.” He found that playing video game music while he was learning to drive helped quell his anxiety!

The workshop today shared a lot of rich information, including:

  • People with disabilities miss out because of too many barriers to transportation. A study by Rutgers found that 72% of both individuals and their parents had to miss out on self activities due to waiting and/or lack of ride (Learn more about that study here
  • Some high schools offer driving classes and some school districts will include driving goals on the IEP
  • The Next Street is a driving school in Connecticut that recently added Driver Rehab Services to their offerings. They are are able to help the medically challenged continue to drive with adaptive equipment. Founder Brandon Dufour, a co-presenter today, noted that they have an occupational therapist on staff to help people with disabilities learn to drive. Read more about their program here: https://rehab.thenextstreet.com/diagnoses/driving-with-autism-spectrum-disorder
  • The Next Street has a great, 8-point questionnaire that can help families figure out if their young adult with a disability can drive. Here are those questions:
    1. How flexible can they be when they encounter changes?
    2. Are they able to adapt relatively quickly, or do sudden deviations from their expectations cause them severe distress?
    3. Do they have the motor skills needed to safely operate a vehicle’s controls?
    4. Are they able to handle distracting environments while still making quick, appropriate decisions, such as handling the noise of a radio, the visual stimuli of cars and billboards, and still reacting to a vehicle cutting them off?
    5. Do they have sensory processing issues that would result in anxiety when they encounter lots of noise or shiny moving objects?
    6. Are they able to maintain focus on a task for long periods of time, or will they get quickly distracted from driving and forget what they are doing?
    7. Can they maintain focus while being aware of their surroundings?
    8. Can they maintain enough awareness to notice potential obstacles and plan how to react to them?

There is a great website of driving rehabilitation specialists that can help families. Check out The Association for Driving Rehabilitation Specialists here: http://www.aded.net

We’ll repeat the webinar next Thursday! Join us for “Driving with a Disability, a Free Webinar” by registering here: 

Thursday, May 28, 11 a.m.

About our presenters:

Andrew Arboe is a highly proactive Disability Specialist that is especially skilled in public speaking, and networking. Successful experiences include job coaching and mentoring in both school and nonprofit environments. Experienced autism advocate, networking enthusiast, and public speaker. Andrew went from Nervous Novice to Experienced Expert in driving over the last year and is excited to share his story.

Brandon Dufour, co-founder and CEO of The Next Street. The Next Street was founded in 2009 when the company spotted an opportunity to make a splash in the education industry. In 10 years, Brandon’s team now service the entire state of Connecticut. Most recently, The Next Street added Driver Rehabilitation Services to their offerings. They are able to help the medically challenged continue to drive with adaptive equipment. Brandon says, “I am passionate about building businesses that provide an outstanding culture to our staff, outstanding service and support to our customers, and promise to be a positive part of our communities. My massive transformative purpose is to make high quality education available to every person, everywhere on the globe. I spend a lot of my spare time thinking about and building a solution that will positively disrupt the education landscape.”