Learning to Drive
You may be desperate to learn to drive the minute you can, or you may be wondering whether driving’s something you might want to do in the future. Whichever, we hope this section will give you an overview of what’s involved and an idea of where to start if and when you’re ready.
How long it will take and how what will be involved and how complicated it will be for you to get to drive your own car will depend on several things including, for example, your mobility, in terms of whether you’re a wheelchair user, and things like your hand and arm strength. If something seems like a barrier, it’s still worth exploring, don’t be deterred, the range of adaptations and gadgets that are now available is pretty impressive.
‘Talking to others with SMA who drove adapted vehicles also gave me the confidence to deal with negativity from those who were ignorant about the vast possibilities of how the car could be tailored to all my needs. But in true SMA attitude, comments like, “surely you wouldn't be strong enough?” were very quickly shot down in flames!’ Suzanne who has SMA Type 2.
If you think you would like to learn to drive and to have your own car, talk to your Occupational Therapist (OT) or, if you don’t have one, ask your GP for a referral to an OT who can advise you about driving. It’s worth starting the ball rolling on this before you get to the age when you can apply for a provisional driving licence so that you know exactly what you will have to do to reach your goal.
Here are some of the key stages and things you need to know. We suggest you read through them all, so you can work out which ones will be important for you.