Deaf Children Australia and CRUDE Ultimate Driving Education have partnered to provide a new pilot program that will support deaf and hard of hearing young people to learn to drive and achieve their provisional driving licenses (P plates).
In Term 4 2018, a small group of deaf and hard of hearing young people will have the opportunity to undergo a 10-week pilot program. Each student will receive a total of 10 Advanced Driver practical lessons with qualified instructors and appropriate communication support. Students can either access Auslan (Australian Sign Language) interpreters or hearing loops fitted in modified vehicles to make communication easier while on the road.
Having a license greatly improves independence for all young people, and promotes more social, recreational, educational and employment opportunities. However, because of a lack of accessible driving instruction, deaf and hard of hearing young people can struggle to get their driver’s license.
A learner driver program is greatly needed to specifically support deaf and hard of hearing young people and their parents or guardians. This pilot program will help to get them started on their driving, and give them the momentum and confidence to continue with their parents or guardians towards the 120 hours of driving practice required to qualify for their license.
As well as teaching young people to drive, the new program also aims to address some of the incidental information deaf and hard of hearing people can miss in conversation. Students will participate in a full day accessible workshop including theory, vehicle dynamics and simulation, driver safety and basic car maintenance to give them the tools they need to drive safely.
Our aim is not only to support young people directly, but to co-design a pilot program that can create change in the industry and empower other providers to work with young deaf people. To support this, the intellectual property from the pilot program will be available to driving instruction providers who wish to make their services accessible to deaf or hard of hearing clients. By providing the intellectual property, we hope that more young people who are deaf or hard of hearing will have the opportunity to learn to drive under the supervision of expert instructors and receive their P’s faster.
More information on signing up for the program will be released soon. Thank you to the RACV Community Foundation for the grant that generously funded this pilot program. We also want to acknowledge CRUDE Ultimate Driving Education for partnering with DCA and sharing their passion and vision to develop this innovative program.