January 18, 2016 | 5:00 am | By Pants Up Easy
Although none of us wants to be average or mundane, we’d all like to be “normal.” Basically, we don’t want to feel like some kind of outcast or weirdo. This might not be a huge concern for the average individual, but it certainly is for the wheelchair user.
It’s not that wheelchair users naturally feel “abnormal”; it’s that the world around them often makes them feel that way. Like when wheelchair users accompany someone to the store and the cashier automatically addresses the other person first; or when they regularly scratch their knuckles trying to navigate a narrow doorway.
It’s because of these things that wheelchair users want to engage in “normal” activities, such as going grocery shopping or seeing a movie. In order to bring a sense of routine and stability to their lives and help them feel just like everyone else. And one of the best ways to accomplish that is by getting a driver’s license.
But how can a paralyzed person get a license?
Well, it won’t be your typical license, since you won’t be able to drive a typical car. Without the use of your legs, conventional vehicles are of no use. Therefore, you’ll need to have your car outfitted with hand controls or purchase a vehicle that already has them. And you’ll have to find a qualified driver trainer to evaluate your car setup and your specific needs.
For instance, not all wheelchair users will have the same capabilities or difficulties. A trainer will evaluate your physical condition to help you determine the right adapted setup for you. (You can find a listing of evaluators here).
Once your setup has been determined and you’ve practiced with it sufficiently, you’ll need to take a driving test with the DMV. If you pass the test, you’ll be granted a brand new driver’s license. However, it will be listed as a restricted license, since it will only be valid with the use of special driving equipment.