Several disabled people takes to driving in Singapore.

Singapore: An increasing number of individuals with medical issues are not allowing their disabilities to stand in the way while driving a car.

A scheme at the TTSH (Tan Tock Seng Hospital) provides the necessary assistance. Lastyear, a total of 485 people got benefitted from the DARP (Driving Assessment and Rehabilitation Programme), an increase from 281 in the year 2008.

An occupational therapist group belonging to the hospital, intiated the scheme way back in 2001, the plan helps the individual having disabilities to learn driving.

Florence Cheong, senior manager of TSSH occupational therapy department said through DARP they are hopeful to give a better quality of life to the patients.

The applicant has to undergo 2 DARP assessments, an on road evaluation, where the ability of the participant to drive a modified car will be assessed by a TTSH occupational therapist and a certified driving instructor. Another assessment is an off-road test, which evaluates the participant’s cognitive, physical and visual capabilities related to driving.

The participants who successfully clear the assessments are permitted to drive the car, and if required they can also take up lessons with a trainer or again learn driving.

Among the participants, was one Hong Yong Ming, aged 46, two years back, he suffered a stroke. Though he has recovered, he sensed numbness on the rightside part of his physique.

He enrolled with the DARP and has learnt the strategy to utilize his left foot for brake and accelerator.

Hong said at first he felt difficult during the first lesson, and by the third lesson he has mastered the tactics, to overcome his disability. .After completion of six lessons; Hong got the permission to drive.

Hong is working as project manager a construction company. His work demands him to be on the road and his car is fixed with a left foot accelerator.

In 2011, the center of disabled living issued 458 car park labels to people with disabilities, an increase from 176 in the year 2007.

The learning and testing process for the disabled person is normally identical to that of learner riders and drivers.

The applicants after clearing the test can apply for the provisional driving license. If he desires to have a customized (modified) vehicle, he can get in touch with the HWA (Handicaps Welfare Association) for practical lessons.

Since 1984, the HWA is providing lessons and assisting the people with disabilities to drive, with improved mobility and independence

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