Asher's been driving, and I finally brought my camera to capture it. Take a looksie:
What do you think? It may not appear to be as much work as it is, but I can assure you that at the end of a 20-30 minute lesson, he is SPENT. How he is moving his hand to control the joystick seems fairly effortless but I cannot even imagine how much effort he actually requires to do that. Do you see how supported he is? A seatbelt, two straps on each foot, a four point chest strap, a homemade chest/arm support vest to help keep his arms near to his body when his tone kicks in, and a tray - all of those things required to keep him upright, comfortable, and feeling in control. I wish it were as easy for him as hopping in the chair, controlling the joystick and taking off. But if that were the case, I guess he probably wouldn't need a wheelchair, would he?
Another challenge is that this is his first time experimenting with self mobility - so he gets distracted EASILY. He is supposed to be concentrating on driving, and he knows that, but it is just so exciting for him to be able to explore that his "crashes" are often the result of him fixating on things other than his driving path. It's understandable, of course, so we need to find better ways to keep him motivated by the task at hand, at least more so than all of the distractions around him. It's all a balancing act between giving him some freedom, but at the same time actually improving his driving skills.
I am so, so proud of him. All we hear from our OT is how much he "gets it" and how well he is doing, even though he has a long road and a lot more learning ahead of him before this is his main mode of transportation. Thank goodness there's many more lessons in his future because I think it's going to be a while before I let him anywhere near my baseboards and door frames!
ps - Notice he's got the headlights and four way flashers on? He'd be honking the horn non-stop too, if he had his way.