Autochair backs new disability driver assessment centre

Helen Dolphin MBE, Autochair ambassador

Vehicle adaptation supplier and manufacturer, Autochair, is to feature at the opening of a new facility in Colchester which will offer advice and guidance to drivers with debilitating medical conditions.

East Anglian DriveAbility will launch the scheme and will be joined at the opening by the adaptation specialist, which will feature top tips on maintaining independence from Autochair’s ambassador, quadruple amputee and disability rights campaigner, Helen Dolphin MBE.

East Anglian DriveAbility (EAD) is one of 17 accredited mobility assessment centres across the UK which offer professional information, assessment, advice and recommendations to people who want to keep driving despite reduced mobility or any other medical condition that may affect their fitness to drive.

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The event will celebrate the official opening of its new suite with healthcare professionals, driving instructors and demonstrations of specially adapted vehicles. There will also be chance to get to know Bugzi, the free-loan powered wheelchair for children aged one to six and see a range of Blue Badge Company accessories.

“We have more than 30 years experience providing vehicle adaptations including hoists to lift people from wheelchair to car, hoists which lift wheelchairs and scooters into a car and additional driving aids. Helen and I feel privileged to bring our combined industry expertise to advise those who want to maintain their independence through driving,” commented Jules Allen, Autochair sales and marketing director.

Helen Dolphin, who also chairs the East Anglian DriveAbility board, said centres such as the EAD are a lifeline for people who have recently been diagnosed with a mobility impacting condition such as stroke, brain damage or memory loss.

She added: “I lost all of my limbs after a devastating case of meningitis almost 20 years ago so know much about the minefield and emotions that are involved in trying to sustain your independence against all odds.

“People often feel that a medical diagnosis may lead to having their license revoked but driver assessment centres are all about ensuring people can stay behind the wheel for as long as possible. The EAD open day is a fantastic opportunity to speak to occupational therapists and driving instructors who can run through the physical and cognitive aspects of an assessment and meet the experts manufacturing the products that genuinely make a positive difference to your lifestyle.”

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