OT driving assessment
Commonly, as autism can affect people differently and doctors do not actually observe the person driving, they will often refer the person for an OT driving assessment. A driver trained OT is a health professional who has specific qualifications to assess if a person’s medical condition may be affecting their driving capacity, to ensure that they are driving according to RMS standards. The aim of the Occupational Therapy Driving Assessment is to fully determine if or how the diagnosis of Autism affects driving, and outline a specific lesson plan for Learner drivers. As learner drivers are only just learning to drive, it is not possible to fully determine if their autism is influencing their driving ability. Therefore, following the OT driving assessment, specialised driving lessons are usually recommended for the person. Driving lessons are completed with rehabilitation driving instructors, who have a background in health and primarily work with people who have medical conditions. This better equips them to teach people who have Autism and other cognitive or developmental conditions. For people who have appropriate NDIS funding, they may utilise this to pay for the assessment and driving lessons.
Regardless of what option the doctor selects regarding fitness to drive, the first step is to make this important decision a collaborative one that involves the individual, their family and other relevant professionals. As driving is one of the leading causes of death for people in Australia, it is important that all individuals who obtain their driver’s licence are medically fit and suitable to drive.