Woman with a spinal cord injury finds a new wheelchair and the confidence to drive again

Ramya, 30, is a busy accountant with a successful career. Ramya became paraplegic after a car accident and uses a wheelchair. She has a full life, enjoying theatre, cooking, and spending time with friends. Since her spinal cord injury six years ago, she has been living on her own in an accessible apartment.

When Ramya’s wheelchair needed to be replaced, she asked her OT to suggest a new model. First, Ramya’s Family Health Team OT did a wheelchair assessment. The OT talked to Ramya to about her physical and lifestyle needs and took measurements. As an Assistive Devices Program (ADP) Authorizer, the OT even completed the forms for Ramya’s application for funding.

The OT also considered how Ramya was managing at work, at home, and in other areas of her life. While Ramya was very independent and happy, she complained about spending so much time travelling to and from places. Because she didn’t drive, waiting for the public transportation system for persons with disabilities took extra time out of her busy day. She wanted to drive again but felt anxious about getting into a car after her accident.

The OT suggested a driver rehab program where Ramya could learn to drive with hand controls. In this program, OTs and driving instructors work together with the client to regain the skill of driving with safe in-car sessions. In choosing a wheelchair for Ramya, they considered one that she could easily lift into the car on her own.

Several weeks later when the new wheelchair arrived, Ramya surprised her OT with an announcement that she booked a driver rehabilitation assessment. With her fast new wheelchair and a plan to get back behind the wheel, Ramya is excited that she will soon be able to get around more easily and have more time in her day.