I am only able to move from my elbows to my fingertips. Because of this, the path to getting my license has been a long journey. When I originally began the process, my Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor had to look out of state for an instructor who specialized in the high tech equipment I needed. Luckily, soon into the process, I found Jenny Nordine and Driving to Independence.
Jenny has the “can do” attitude that is so necessary in the lives of people with disabilities. The triple combination of Jenny’s knowledge of adaptive driving equipment, her creativity, and her excellent ability to communicate, makes her a joy to work with. Jenny has always treated me as a full partner in this process, making sure I was comfortable with her ideas before making official recommendations to my Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor. In addition, Jenny has often advocated on my behalf along side me every time the process tried to get bogged down in bureaucracy. She has been the thread of sanity in a process that was extremely frustrating on its best day.
I now drive a mini van that uses the EMC J series joystick for primary control of the steering, braking and gas systems. The EMC Gold series is my secondary control system. This controls things like ignition, shifting, cabin temperature, etc. In addition, Jenny and I decided to install VIC (Voice Integrated Controls). This allows me to control the same functions as the Gold series solely with voice commands. This is a total lifesaver at the end of a long, exhausting day. Finally, cameras were installed on each side of the car to enable me to see on coming cross traffic.
Once the van was adapted, driving lessons began. I was terrified, but Jenny knew when to push me and when to back off. By the end of my second lesson, I was very confident. From that point on, lessons were fun and something I looked forward to. If you have a disability, or know someone who does, I can’t recommend Jenny and Driving to Independence enough!