ON THE ROAD AGAIN
Being in a wheelchair or scooter full time does not necessarily end the ability to drive. The technology for adapting vehicles to be driven by those with physical disabilities continues to evolve. Often automobile manufacturers will assist with the cost to convert a vehicle and make it more adaptable for those with physical impairments.
The National Highway Safety Traffic Administration (NHTSA) has developed a process, based on the experience of driver rehabilitation specialists, to help avoid potentially expensive mistakes when buying and modifying a vehicle with adaptive equipment. These include evaluating your needs, selecting the right vehicle, choosing a qualified dealer to modify your vehicle, being trained on the equipment, and maintaining your vehicle. Costs for modifying a vehicle can range greatly, but are often covered in part or in full by private health insurance. Your state’s vocational services agency may also be able to provide some funding. For more information, see the NHSTA’s brochure at www.nhtsa.gov/cars/rules/adaptive/brochure/brochure.html.
Physical Therapy can help ease
Keep in mind that you may be required to obtain an on-the-road evaluation, performed by a driver rehabilitation specialist, who will generate a report containing specific recommendations on driving requirements or restrictions, and a list of recommended vehicle modifications. Contact the Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists (ADED; www.aded.net) to locate a qualified evaluator in your area.
A STEP FORWARD
One of the common traits of MS is that it has no single set of symptoms, or course of progression. The symptoms of MS are as variable as the individuals who have the disease. Knowing about the available options for making movement with MS easier can provide the opportunity to move forward each day with the disease. As new drugs, therapies, and treatments are tested and improved, life with MS moves forward, and with the help of a variety of aids, MS patients can too.