NEWS & UPDATES

Getting Behind The Wheel, Pure Freedom!

05 Feb 2020

The daunting vision of hooning down the street with uncontrollable Cerebral Palsy tremors has plagued me for the last 30 years. At the beginning of 2018, the decision to start the driving journey began. With the successful passing of the Learner License multichoice test, the sheer reality that no sane friend would give up their car to teach me to drive. Biting the bullet, the decision to call in the experts at Polo Driving School was made, the personal sacrifice both financial and in time was a decision worthwhile.

Eden (driving instructor), who honestly rationalised the daunting and lengthy process of the reality of teaching a person who happens to have complex Cerebral Palsy wasn’t an easy task. The slow progress drifted into a period of 18 months, each driving lesson proved to be a constant battle between the stresses of driving and managing my Cerebral Palsy, involuntary movements and the random spastic outburst. Driving along the motorway for the fist time was a lifelong experience which I will never forget, even though we were wobbling along at 50 kilometres an hour on a Saturday afternoon. Followed by the experience of the first time driving through a McDonald’s drive through and practicing the
turning ability of sharp corners.

The bare bone facts that both my feet do not work at the best of times, the modification of advanced hand control with the combination of a spinner ball mounted to the steering wheel for one hand turning provides the safest option for all parties involved. Having a weaker right hand (which is responsible for braking and accelerating with hand controls) the rewiring of my brain to be gentle on the accelerator minimising the rapid jerkiness of CP while keeping both eyes on the road and a firm grip on the wheel spinner.

The driving journey has been plagued by small hiccups but rewarding with milestones, like receiving Lottery Commission grants for a modified vehicle. When receiving this car, constant communications between specialised occupational therapists to identify the right modifications, vehicle size and budget restraints, has proved to be a challenging yet rewarding experience.

At the end of the day, to be able to drive myself to and from work as an independent fully-fledged card-carrying member of the workforce with a completely modified vehicle, is a pretty awesome dream to have achieved.

  • We have individual grants available at CPS for those who need driving lessons.
  • If you want to know more then email me at jordon@cpsociety.org.nz
  • If you are interested in getting on the road then give Polo Driving School a call on 09 5277180.
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Cerebral Palsy Society