Driver Rehab Program

What is driver rehabilitation?

Independence is a major goal of every rehabilitation program and for many, driving a vehicle is the ultimate freedom. For decades, Bryn Mawr Rehab has offered a unique way for patients to return to this crucial aspect of their lives. Working with a driver rehabilitation specialist, patients learn to use our specially equipped vehicles, which include a variety of hand controls, steering devices, and pedal modifications, represent an exciting new phase in the lives of many people recovering from major injuries, or people living with a range of disabilities. 

In many cases, conditions that formerly kept people close to home are overcome with modern adaptations and specialized training, providing an enormous boost in quality of life as well as economic opportunity, when people are able to travel independently to work. Outpatient driver rehab is offered at Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital in Malvern, Pennsylvania, just outside of Philadelphia.

Driver rehab enhances skills gradually

The program is led by two licensed occupational therapists, who are certified and trained as driver rehabilitation specialists. Our driver rehab program takes a multi-pronged approach, from assessment to training to driver certification and ongoing support. Our Clinical Assessment focuses on several factors:

  • Visual skills
  • Reaction time
  • Flexibility and physical ability
  • Perception
  • Attention and memory

Once the initial assessment is complete, you'll begin driving with our certified instructors using the adaptive equipment and vehicles maintained by the program. We begin with short trips within the hospital grounds. When you're ready, you'll take to the regular road with your instructors. A Bryn Mawr Rehab instructor can also accompany you to the state exam site for testing in a specially equipped vehicle. This level of support continues after the test, with detailed equipment prescriptions for your own vehicle and a list of vendors who can provide and install the gear.

The Driver Rehabilitation Program at Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital aids more than 400 people every year and is licensed by the PA Department of Education.

Driver rehab is for all ages and conditions

A driver rehabilitation specialist can help people of all ages get safely on the road. Our clients include:

  • New drivers with physical challenges like cerebral palsy, spina bifida or short stature
  • Senior citizens looking to safely retain their independence
  • Teenagers with learning disabilities or attention deficit disorder
  • People who are relearning to drive after illness, stroke, spinal cord injury, brain injury, or amputation
  • Families who want to make a van wheelchair-friendly

Working with senior citizens in the Philadelphia area is another important aspect of our driver rehab services. There are many ways to accommodate the declining physical abilities of older people, helping them to safely retain their independence as long as possible. Our driver rehabilitation specialists facilitate this by teaching strategies such as:

  • Routine assessments to ensure safety on the road
  • Defensive driving techniques
  • Energy conservation strategies
  • Exercises for increased flexibility
  • Modifications for reduced height

Our driver rehab specialist also emphasizes avoiding rush hour, limiting driving to daylight hours, dividing long trips into shorter segments — and of course, making sure glasses prescriptions are always up to date.

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