Driving Assessment and Rehabilitation Program
Understand Transportation Options with Adaptive Driving Assessment
Transportation is an important part of daily life as it facilitates work, school, time with friends, running errands, and more. For people with disabilities, such as spinal cord injury, brain injury, and other neurological issues, the need for transportation does not change, but the way they travel may change or need modifications.
Transportation Options Based on Mobility
At Shepherd Center, we help clients evaluate, understand, and use available transportation options after experiencing a loss in mobility. Staff members address safety and accessibility issues, as well as the unique transportation concerns for people using power wheelchairs.
Certified driver rehabilitation specialists, including a certified driving educator and occupational therapist, make up our Shepherd team. This team evaluates mobility to provide individualized transportation options for clients. Mobility evaluations include on-the-road examinations, lessons, and fittings for vehicle modifications.
Designed to fit the individual needs of each client, mobility evaluations may consult other professionals as needed.
Adaptive Driving Services and Programs at Shepherd Center
- Dependent passenger evaluations. Get recommendations on vehicle modifications for mobility restrictions due to physical and/or cognitive deficits. Designed for people in wheelchairs using vans or minivans, these sessions provide modifications for clients and their family members. Clients get recommendations for modifying new, used, and rental vehicles and resources about funding.
- Van driving evaluations. The team makes recommendations for people able to operate a vehicle but require a van or minivan to transport their wheelchairs or accommodate their disability. Clients may drive from their wheelchairs or a powered transfer seat. The evaluation includes a pre-assessment of physical and cognitive abilities associated with driving, as well as an on-the-road assessment.
- High-tech van driving evaluations. Get recommendations for people with extremely limited functional abilities but who are able to drive using advanced technological solutions, like a joystick, touchpad controls, and brake and steering wheel modifications. Shepherd Center has access to the most technically advanced driving systems on the market. These technologies especially benefit clients with high-level spinal cord injuries and those with disabilities limiting the range of motion and proximal strength.
- Car driving evaluations. This service helps people able to independently transfer and load a wheelchair (if they use one) into a car. The evaluation process includes pre-assessments of physical and cognitive abilities required for driving and an on-the-road assessment.
How To Schedule an Appointment
A doctor’s referral is required before scheduling an appointment for Shepherd Center’s adaptive driving services. We accept a doctor’s order requesting a “PT/OT driving evaluation” or a completed Assistive Technology Referral Form from your physician.
Please complete the following steps to schedule your appointment:
- Download the referral form below, which must be completed by your physician and then faxed to us.
- Ask your doctor to send a copy of your medical history listing your chronic (long-term) and acute (short-term) illness. Fax records to Shepherd Center at 404-350-7356.
When all needed forms are received, Shepherd Center will contact you to schedule an appointment. To schedule an appointment with driving directly, please call 404-355-1144.
Covering the Cost of Adaptive Driving Services
- Call Shepherd Center’s billing department at 404-350-7323 to get detailed insurance coverage information and self-payment options.
- Contact the Georgia Brain and Spinal Injury Trust Fund to see if you qualify for assistance.
- Contact your local Vocational Rehabilitation office to see if you qualify for assistance. If you are a Georgia resident, learn more at the website for the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency office.
What to Expect at an Adaptive Driving Assessment
- The initial driving evaluation lasts about three hours.
- The first 1.5 hours is a clinical assessment. A therapist evaluates your arms, legs, vision, cognition, and balance for driving.
- The second half of the appointment is a road assessment. You drive a vehicle with the adaptive equipment required if any.
Any additional appointments necessary will be made after the evaluation.
Adaptive Driving Education and Training
Program specialists provide information on purchasing modified vehicles, as well as personalized training and instruction on using adaptive equipment. New drivers with disabilities may also receive driving lessons to increase confidence and proficiency behind the wheel.
All services are designed to meet the individual needs of each client. To contact a staff member regarding specific questions for inpatient, outpatient, and day program clients, please call 404-350-7722.