The Disability Trust’s Learner Drivers Group students Rachel and Stephanie Coe recently sat their Drivers Knowledge Test at Service NSW’s Miranda site. Team Leader, Brett Fairley was there to support on what became quite an emotional day for the twin sisters, as he explains.
“They were both feeling nervous as they had failed the test a couple of times before, and there was even competitiveness between the two over who was going to pass on the day.
Both sisters passed within minutes of each other, resulting in hugs and tears.”
It was a special moment where two sisters came together with a shared goal: Learning to drive and gaining greater independence.
Getting a driving licence and the responsibilities that come with it represent a rite of passage for any young adult, so supporting people with a disability to achieve this milestone is an important form of inclusion.
The Disability Trust’s Learner Drivers Groups provide a real sense of achievement for the participants. The activities they run can even open career opportunities. Most people feel a great sense of pride when they can show their licence as a form of ID at any venue, so getting a licence is about more than driving. It allows the holder to have much more independence, choice and control in their lives.
The Learner Drivers Group teaches the road rules and other essential skills over a ten-week period, using a range of strategies to engage with different learning styles and abilities. It is taught in group and individualised settings utilising models, workbooks, assisted technology, a simple English version of the rules and community observation. The course addresses some essential skills beyond driving, for example how to refuel and check fluid levels, driving position, the operation of the vehicle’s controls and active and passive safety systems.
The program strives to make the Service NSW Road Users Handbook come alive in a fun way, as it is a vast amount of information for anyone to comprehend. At the end of the program participants are confident enough to sit for the test at Service NSW.
Participants enrol in the program for a number of reasons: Some have the goal of achieving their full licence one day, while for others the goal is to have a conditional licence. There are those that only ever want to retain a Learners permit, participants that just have an interest in cars and road safety, and even a few people who have been through the program a number of times just because it is so much fun.
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