Medical Driving Evaluations

Joan Cramer

Joan Cramer
Joan Sevigny Cramer, MS, OT/L, CDRS received her Bachelor’s in Science in Occupational Therapy from Quinnipiac University and continued her education at the University of Hartford where she earned a Master’s in Science in Organizational Behavior. Joan’s career has involved work in various clinical arenas serving clients with a variety of diagnoses. Her clinical expertise includes seating and positioning and home care consultation. After assisting her mother through the process of retiring from driving, she became intrigued with the specialty of Driver Rehabilitation. Her journey to become a Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist began in 2015 by attending a comprehensive seminar lead by Susan Pierce, OTR, CDRS, SCDCM. She attended additional training sessions hosted by The Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists (ADED) who supports those working in this field; they establish guidelines for best practice and oversee the process for certification in this specialized field of practice. In August 2017 Joan successfully passed the certification exam making her the only Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist in the state of Connecticut. She has recently been appointed the chair of an Ad Hoc Committee for ADED to assist with the development of training resources for those planning to take future certification exams. As the past President of the Connecticut Occupational Therapy Association, she continues to volunteer as a speaker at local conferences with a mission to heighten awareness of her peers as they guide their clients, young and old, in preparation to drive following injury/illness. Joining the team at The Next Street will allow Joan to offer comprehensive services to those in need across the state. She is excited to learn from her associates who specialize in driver training and to broaden her involvement with young adults who wish to drive. In her free time Joan values time with her family, spoiling her 5 grandchildren and making memories with her mom. She hopes to incorporate her love for service animals in her efforts to work with clients behind the wheel.
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Recent Posts

Driving With Anxiety

Posted by Joan Cramer on Sep 24, 2019 7:44:05 AM

Driving can be a stressful experience for anybody. For those with some form of anxiety disorder or driving phobia, it can feel overwhelming. Simply thinking about getting behind the wheel can be paralyzing. Your mind fills with worries about all the “what if’s,” like “What if I get lost?” “What if I cause an accident?” “What if other drivers get angry at me?” While these thoughts can make you hesitant to get on the road, we want you to consider another “what if.” What if you succeed? You could broaden your world, be more independent, and go places and do things you’ve always dreamed of. If you’re visiting our website, you’re already taking the first step towards freedom.

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Topics: driver rehab, driving evaluations, medical driving, anxiety

Driving with Parkinson’s Disease

Posted by Joan Cramer on Sep 24, 2019 7:42:13 AM

You found out recently that you have Parkinson’s disease, and now you are looking down the road of life, wondering what lies ahead. This progressive movement disorder will eventually interfere with many areas of your life, including your ability to drive, though you may still have many years of independent living ahead of you. Even when it does start to impair your driving skills, it doesn’t mean you have to surrender the keys just yet. With assistance, you can overcome some of the challenges of Parkinson’s and extend your time in the driver’s seat.

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Topics: driver rehab, driving evaluations, medical driving, parkinsons

Driving with Spina Bifida

Posted by Joan Cramer on Sep 24, 2019 7:35:56 AM

You have already spent more than a decade helping your son or daughter through the challenges of spina bifida. This neurological birth defect results from an improperly formed spinal cord and can cause nerve damage, hydrocephalus, paralysis, and a host of other physical and cognitive disabilities. Childhood may be full of regular doctor’s visits and surgeries, and as the teen years approach, you may be doubtful of your child’s ability to operate a vehicle. Despite all of the challenges caused by spina bifida, many people will still be able to get behind the wheel, though they may require special adaptive driving equipment and additional training to reach their goals of mobility and independence.

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Topics: driver rehab, medical driving, adaptive driving, spina bifida

Driving With ADHD

Posted by Joan Cramer on Sep 24, 2019 7:31:06 AM

Any parent will be stressed out and concerned as their teen learns to drive. This is understandable, as automobile accidents are the leading cause of death among youth. Driving is not a task to be taken lightly. For parents of teens with ADHD, there is an even higher level of concern. Drivers with ADHD struggle with inattentiveness, distractibility, and impulsivity, and are two to four times more likely to get in an accident. However, with some additional help, they can overcome these challenges and safely take to the road.

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Topics: driver rehab, medical driving, ADHD

Driving After a Limb Amputation

Posted by Joan Cramer on Sep 24, 2019 7:27:17 AM

When you lose part of your body to amputation, it can be a long road to recovery, both physically and mentally. On top of the time spent healing from the surgery, going through physical therapy, and adapting to the use of a prosthetic limb, there is also a loss that needs to be grieved and a new way of life that needs to be adopted. Part of this new life is wrestling with how your amputation will impact your mobility and independence. Once daily tasks such as driving become difficult or seemingly impossible, and you may be tempted to give up. But don’t throw away the keys yet, there’s good news. In most cases, with rehab, training, and possibly some adaptive driving devices, you can get back behind the wheel and continue living your life in freedom.

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Topics: driver rehab, medical driving, limb, adaptive driving

Driving With Cerebral Palsy

Posted by Joan Cramer on Sep 24, 2019 7:23:10 AM

Growing up is a natural part of life. For those of us with special needs children, the thought of letting them become independent adults can be both frightening and relieving. If your child has cerebral palsy, you have already struggled through years of coping with physical, sensory, or cognitive disabilities. You may wonder if it is even possible for your son or daughter to drive a car. In most cases, with the help of special techniques or adaptive driving equipment, your child can compensate for any impairments and safely get behind the wheel.

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Topics: driver rehab, medical driving, Cerebral Palsy, CP

Driving With Vision Challenges

Posted by Joan Cramer on Sep 24, 2019 7:16:21 AM

A new onset of vision challenges can cause you to be legitimately concerned about your ability to stay on the road. You may fear that you will lose your independence, or your ability to continue working, taking care of family, or engaging in social activities. While vision impairment can make driving more dangerous, in many cases there are steps that can be taken to overcome your vision challenges and keep you behind the wheel.

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Topics: driver rehab, medical driving, vision

Driving with ALS

Posted by Joan Cramer on Sep 4, 2019 5:24:42 PM

Coming to terms with being diagnosed with ALS can be very difficult. Its progressive loss of muscle function means slowly losing many abilities, including the ability to drive. With this comes a loss of independence, which can impact one’s job, family, and social life. Just because you have been diagnosed with ALS doesn’t mean you need to give up the keys just yet. It may still be possible with adaptive driving devices to extend your time on the road.

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Topics: driver rehab, medical, medical driving, ALS

Driving with Arthritis

Posted by Joan Cramer on Sep 4, 2019 4:55:29 PM

Sore, aching, throbbing joints are no fun. For almost 40 million Americans with some form of arthritis, this can be a torturous daily occurrence.  Pain in your hands, wrists, knees, hips, neck, back, or feet can make simple tasks like driving seem daunting. As operating a vehicle becomes too uncomfortable to do, you may feel your independence slipping away, and you may worry that you won’t be able to get to work, care for your family, or keep participating in life with others. Fortunately, in most cases, there are ways you can modify your lifestyle and your car to take the pain out of driving and get you back on the road.

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Topics: driver rehab, medical, medical driving, arthritis

Driving After a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Posted by Joan Cramer on Sep 4, 2019 4:31:47 PM

If you or a loved one are among the 2.8 million Americans who sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) this year, you may be wondering if driving is still a safe option. If you were injured in a car accident, which is one of the leading causes of TBI, you may be even more uneasy with getting back behind the wheel.  At the same time, you may be concerned about losing your independence, or even about losing your ability to care for loved ones. Many drivers not only have themselves to think of but dependents as well. Driving can seem less like a convenience and more like a necessity.

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Topics: driver rehab, medical driving, brain injury

Driving is Important

We Are Here to Keep You Safe Behind the Wheel

Our Driver Rehabilitation program works with patients whose change in health may affect their ability to safely drive. We have a team of Certified Driving Rehab Specialists that will work with patients on evaluating your driving abilities. We also have a team of professional instructors to help you gain or regain the skills you need to drive. We created this blog to talk about the various diagnoses we experience and how they may affect your experience behind the wheel. 

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