Getting Behind the Wheel Again with Mobility Vehicle Education
On Tuesday, September 17th, Rich Kneeland from Ocean Conversions & Mobility left the Center for Neuro Recovery after a mobility equipment service with several new clients. Rich has been in the mobility industry for over 20 years and has extensive knowledge in mobility equipment and vehicles. Rich spends time with every client and educates them on the variety of adaptive equipment available for their individual circumstances.
After sustaining a traumatic spinal cord injury or stroke, one of the most common questions people ask is: “Will I ever be able to drive again?” Here’s a quick explanation of how Rich helps his clients get behind the wheel (or equivalent controls) once again:
Step 1: Providing Mobility Vehicle Education and Assessing Needs
The first step is to meet with a certified driving instructor who can evaluate an individual’s functional ability and can provide a mobility dealer with a list of recommended driving equipment. When it comes to mobility, there is no single vehicle or piece of adaptive equipment that works for everybody—because different people have unique needs. This is why the mobility industry is constantly evolving, and today there are more options than ever before. Because of this, it is imperative to work with a knowledgeable mobility consultant to find the most suitable equipment for your particular disability.
The mobility equipment and adaptations required to enable driving will vary based on the type of disability you have and your functional ability. Companies such as Dodge, Chrysler, Toyota, and Honda all manufacture minivans that can be adapted for wheelchair or scooter use, but each type has certain pros and cons.
Rich often explains the advantages and disadvantages of having a side entry or rear entry conversion and the functional differences between a fold-out or in-floor ramp. BraunAbility and Vantage Mobility are the two largest wheelchair van conversion companies. So, Rich works closely with both of them to stay apprised of new products and innovations.
Step 2: Choosing Driving Equipment for the Vehicle
Once a vehicle and conversion are selected, the driving equipment can be chosen. As with the vehicle types and mobility conversions, there are many adaptive driving equipment options available. For example, there are electronic or manual hand controls as well as systems to control secondary vehicle functions such as the turn signals. Adaptations can be made for driving from a wheelchair or a 6-way power seat can be installed for those with the ability to transfer.
It’s important to note that not all adaptations involve a mobility van. For those who have right-side paralysis due to a stroke, a left foot accelerator can be installed as well as crossover controls for the vehicle’s turn signals.
The mobility equipment described here is only a small sample of what is available in the marketplace today and working with a knowledgeable mobility consultant is an important part of the process of getting back on the road to recovery.
Step 3: Ongoing Therapy and Recovery
After the initial rehabilitation for neurological injuries such as a spinal cord injury or stroke, an individual may want to continue their recovery progress in a local activity-based therapy facility. Such therapy can be useful for improving function and mobility, making it easier for SCI and TBI survivors to get behind the wheel again. For example, the Center for Neuro Recovery is a post-rehabilitation neurological training facility located in Palm Beach County.
For over a decade, the Center for Neuro Recovery has assisted hundreds of disabled clients by increasing their strength, function, and independence. In addition to the hands on training, the facility is an educational resource to clients by bringing in approved vendors to provide knowledge and products that will aid in their recovery process.
To date, they are considered one of the most comprehensive neurological training facilities in the United States and have been written up in various national and international publications due to the results they have achieved with their clients. The Center for Neuro Recovery program utilizes the latest equipment that is backed by validated, unbiased research and they continually incorporate this cutting-edge knowledge into each client’s training regimen. Clients work with certified trainers for three hours a day and up to five days a week depending on their abilities.
They believe in providing the best possible equipment and training at the most cost effective price. The Center for Neuro Recovery program is results driven and has worked with clients both locally and from around the world. Their motto is “removing limits one step at a time.”
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