Life on the open road

Shaun, who is launching a career as a personal trainer, recently passed his driving test with help from QEF’s Mobility Services.

A qualification in Sport Development, Coaching and Fitness from NESCOT and a passion for wheelchair racing meant that Shaun was determined to show everyone what he can do and get out there and win races, as well as training others. He had to rely on his parents to drive him to Sutton Arena, where he trained, but he wanted to be able to have more independence and drive himself to training sessions.

He told us: “When I first wanted to learn to drive, driving schools turned me away as they didn’t have experience of teaching people with disabilities, so my Mum researched and found QEF.

“When I did the assessment, I was a mixture of nerves and confidence. I got a bit cocky and competitive with myself but I think that helped. My reaction time on hand controls was quicker than a non-disabled person using their feet and pedals.”

“QEF recommended a steering knob to make it easier to steer and a combined brake and accelerator pedal I could use with my right hand. I was nervous about parallel parking, but I had it on my test and did okay thanks to the training I had. I just took my time and did it fine.”

“I took one step at a time, focused on the theory and then the driving and the test. Support was very good. Helen, my instructor really supported me. Some people see a disabled person and put on a weird voice, but here there was no difference. Everyone treated me the same.”

“Now I want to make sure I get the right car, so I’ve had an assessment at QEF to sort out how best to transfer my wheelchair into the vehicle too, so I can do everything on my own.”

“I’d say to anyone with a disability who wants to learn to drive, that there is support out there, so go for it!”

To learn more about Mobility Services please click here.