If you are interested in learning to drive, LCBDD and Capabilities can help.
Lukas Ingram would like to increase his hours at Licking Memorial Hospital.
But his schedule has been limited by the availability of public transit in Licking County.
His team at the Licking County Board of Developmental Disabilities (LCBDD) connected him with the provider Capabilities, where their driving instructors gave him the confidence and experience to pass his permit and driving test.
“I am proud to say I got my license and now I am saving up for a brand new car,” he said.
Lukas is one of a growing number of young adults supported by LCBDD who have gotten their licenses. Others are working on developing their skills so they can pass the tests.
“When you have the ability to transport yourself to and from work, that can open a lot of doors for employment,” said Angie Finck, LCBDD’s director of provider and employment supports. “We want to make sure people we support have the tools to do that, if it is the right fit for them.”
The initiative has been so successful that LCBDD’s Employment Supports department has added driving to the list of referrals they can make for families and are trying to spread the word, the options are out there.
“People assume that just because someone has a disability that driving isn’t an option for them and sometimes that’s not the case,” Angie said.
If someone is interested in learning to drive, the first step is to determine if they have the decision making skills, reactions and coordination to be safe, said Bill Blumhorst, training manager for the Capabilities Driving School.
The person’s team can refer them to Capabilities, or for some people with higher physical modification needs, to the Ohio State University Nisonger Center for testing and assessments, he said.
If driving seems to be appropriate for that person, and funding is available, Capabilities can help them get their official learners permit and practice on the road for their license. If the person is under 18, they also need to take a teen driving course. The number of hours of instruction offered caters to the person and what they need, Bill said.
Although Capabilities can help with those things, parents and guardians play a key role in helping their student learn the rules of the road.
“We will get that student to the point where they can be comfortable, we can help with that but it sure is a good idea if family members can be involved and ride with them to expand on training. It definitely helps. The more experiences they get behind the wheel the better,” Bill said.
Patience is the most important part of the job but seeing someone get their license makes it all worth it, Bill said.
“Once I did this and my first student came out and passed, in tears, they said, ‘I could have never done this without you.’ You realize this is really something special,” he said. “Once you get them to realize they accomplished getting their license they think, ‘What’s next?’ It really can be a stepping stone for moving to other areas of success in their lives.”
If you would like more information about driving or Capabilities, please talk to your LCBDD Service Coordinator or Employment Support Specialist.