You have finally reached the age where you can get a driver’s license, but you are concerned you may not be able to reach the pedals. Like other people with short stature, you struggle to use vehicles designed for taller drivers. It may be a challenge to see over the steering wheel, reach the controls, or even get in and out of the vehicle. But this need not prevent you from getting into the driver’s seat. Regardless of your height or proportions, there are many ways your vehicle can be modified to accommodate you so you can experience the freedom of the open road.
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, you have already begun to experience how this autoimmune disorder can alter your life. It can be painful, frustrating, and even debilitating. Its progressive and unpredictable nature means you are probably not only concerned about your future but also about how you will function on a day to day basis. You may fear being confined to a wheelchair and losing your independence. But for most suffers of MS, despite the difficulty of living with the disease, they never become completely disabled. This means that even if you suffer some physical, visual or cognitive deficits from MS, there is still a strong likelihood that you will be able to get behind the wheel and drive.
If you have suffered paralysis as the result of a spinal cord injury (SCI), you may be struggling with feeling trapped and helpless. Having such a sudden loss of function and independence can be terrifying, and it can take a long time to adjust to the new reality. Some find that they want to push themselves to their new limits, whereas others feel defeated. They may see something like driving as a part of their old life that they must give up. Just because you are paraplegic or quadriplegic, doesn’t necessarily mean you need to surrender driving. Thousands of people with SCIs have been able to relearn how to drive with the help of adaptive equipment and take back some of their freedom.
For the average person, learning to drive can be both an intimidating and a liberating experience. This can be even more true for individuals with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). While over 70% of high school seniors have a driver’s license, this number drops to around 30% for those diagnosed with a form of autism. In some cases, the individual may feel overwhelmed at the sheer number of tasks and rules involved in driving and choose to postpone learning. For others, it may be their parents and guardians who are concerned about their abilities to safely drive and obey the laws, while the child sits home eager to get out on the road and experience the independence that they see their peers enjoying.