Practitioner Toolkit: The Role of OT in Driving Rehab

Occupational therapy practitioners are experts in addressing the essential and everyday activities of daily living. By choosing to specialize in driver rehabilitation, you are helping individuals remain mobile and independent. You are helping ensure their meaningful participation in the community.

Your specialized training not only can help optimize and prolong an older driver's ability to drive safely but also can ease the transition to other forms of transportation if limiting or stopping driving becomes necessary.Elin Schold-Davis Presenting the Driving Toolkit

What You Need to Know

To get started in the field of driver evaluation and intervention, occupational therapists can apply much of what they currently do and already know.

Occupational therapists are trained in task analysis and in identifying the appropriate match of activity demands and skills to achieve optimal outcomes. You build on this foundation when receiving specialized training in driver rehabilitation.

For courses and programs that provide you with specialized training, see Continuing Education.

You can also find out more about driving rehabilitation and community mobility as an emerging practice area in the OT Connections forums.

Driving Rehabilitation Program Development Toolkits Funded by NHTSA

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recognizes that seniors are at risk due to age-related and medical conditions that can result in impairments which may affect safe mobility. While NHTSA acknowledges the contribution occupational therapy practitioners make to older issues, they also understand there are not sufficient practitioners or programs to respond to and meet the emerging driving-related needs of seniors. In recognition of the professional and programmatic capacity issues, NHTSA has funded this project to identify the barriers to developing and sustaining driving/community mobility programs and subsequently create a resource toolkit to facilitate program development.

The mission of the American Occupational Therapy Association’s (AOTA) Older Driver Initiative is to build the capacity of occupational therapy programs to address the needs of at risk senior drivers, with the goal of ensuring IADL independence, including driving, for as long as safely possible. To support this goal, AOTA’s Older Driver Initiative was awarded funding from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to increase the availability of specialized driving rehabilitation services and to develop a toolkit of resources for occupational therapy program development.