Hello, I am Georgia. I have Cerebral Palsy and drive a heavily adapted vehicle, a heavily adapted Ford Tourneo Connect, to be precise. Due to my adaptions, my journey to getting on the road was quite a long one.
Passing my driving test in October 2020 was a significant moment for me as it enabled me to close the door on a four year journey to be able to pass my test. Thus opening a new door to my freedom and independence. Freedom and independence of being able to drive is a gift to all of us when we pass our test, having a disability makes those feelings so much greater.
In this blog, I am going to share a few examples of how being able to drive has enhance my independence, in all areas of my life.
Driving to my appointments has given me so much freedom. A great example of this is going to the hairdressers (it could have been any other appointment like the doctors or dentist). These are all very local, so, as you can see I’m not having to drive miles for my independence increased.
Managing and attending all these appointments independently is important to me. During the past year, my ability to be completely independent in driving to the hairdressers has resulted in my self-esteem going through the roof. We all know how fabulous we feel after having our hair cut, and when I’ve drove to the hairdressers on my own after a lifetime of relying on my parents, that fabulous after feeling is definitely dialled up a notch or two.
Having passed my test and now being able to drive my own adapted car I have been able to apply for job outside of my own city. Without the ability to drive I wouldn’t have even looked at the job, as it would have been impossible for me to get public transport. My driving is certainly going to improve now I’ve entered the working world, and I honestly cannot wait to be driving myself to work.
I mean, can you really get more independent than driving yourself to and from a job that enables you to have a positive impact on society?
One of my favourite, activities is visiting/going out with friends, and over the summer I was able to do much more of that, because I had the freedom to drive myself. Again, I cannot tell you the difference it made to be able to visit my friends on my own. Not having to see if my parents were around to take me was a great feeling, as because of my disability I cannot just hop on the bus. I even took my friends on a day out, which was so exhilarating. I’m still not the best driver and have a long way to go, but after years of receiving lifts, it was so nice to finally be able to return the favour!
So, it’s not about being the world’s best driver, or travelling very far. For me having my own car is significant and having it impacts my independence beyond my wildest dreams.I know that, I can still make mistakes when driving and I have a many more steps to conquer, like driving to work on a regular basis as mentioned. But, being able to drive has still massively improved my independence, already in the past year!
I cannot wait to increase my confidence as a driver, because with more confidence comes more independence, which can only increase my overall self-esteem. I couldn’t have got any of this without a vehicle that has been specially adapted to my needs, so I am forever grateful for all those people who made my independence possible.
Thank you for reading,
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