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At ease behind the wheelDriver rehabilitation program helps driver overcome disability
That grew tiresome, and she was faced with amputation as an option to overcome her driving obstacle.
“Amputation was the only way for me to get a bending leg,” she said. “But I wasn’t going to do that just to drive. I’ve gotten by so far with this leg, so I don’t see any reason to change it yet.”That proved to be a good choice for Opp, who is employed by the North Dakota Department of Transportation. She was referred to the Sanford Health Rehabilitation, and Erikson performed a three-hour evaluation last September. That was followed by two 90-minute training sessions.
“She passed on the first attempt,” said a proud Erikson, who has been involved in the driving program for 13 years.
“We practiced in all types of traffic, including highway and interstate driving,” Erikson added. “We worked on parallel parking and defensive driving skills. She was a very quick learner.”
At the Sanford Health Rehabilitation, Erikson works with Char DeMaria, who has been in the program for 15 years and also is a CDRS. Sanford Health’s is the first program in the state to have CDRS personnel. Erikson said diagnoses that may warrant a driving evaluation include: traumatic brain injury, amputation, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury and stroke.
General guidelines to determine when professional assessment is necessary include: physical limitations that may require adaptive driving equipment; cognitive impairment that may cause problems in identifying driving hazards, predicting solutions and deciding on an appropriate response; visual impairments; delayed reaction time and apprehension about an individual’s driving ability.
“Typically the largest patient population we see are individuals who have sustained strokes,” Erikson said.
Click here for more information on Sanford Health’s driver rehabilitation program, or call