Quesnel’s Seniors Advocacy Service offering touch-screen technology training

In anticipation of driving evaluation, this familiarization will remove some of the barriers to successful assessment

Lyle Orchison

Seniors’ Advocacy Service will soon ofter Touch Screen Computer Awareness, the first program of its kind in the province.

This independent orientation could mean the difference between successful and unsuccessful completion of the touch-screen driving assessment.

“Unsuccessful completion rate of the on-line driving assessment appears to be high due to unfamiliarity of touch screen technology,” SAS’ Susan MacNeill said.

Each client will sign up for a minimum of two sessions on the touch screen computer. The first session will familiarize them with touch screen technology through computer games.

The games format tests various cognitive competencies and helps prepare the client for what they could face in the on-line driving assessment.

The second session reviews the technology and goes over the components of the DriveABLE assessment. They include motor speed and control; span of attentional field; spatial judgement and decision making; speed of attentional shifting; executive functioning (verbal instruction); and identification of driving situations.

DriveABLE’s in-office assessment tool is a science-based driving evaluation designed to identify at risk drivers, regardless of age.

A recommendation for the assessment may come from a person’s family physician, concerned family members or others.

Often the family physician, who is usually visited one or more times a year by patients, are likely to be the first person ‘in authority’ to encounter a driver who has become medically impaired. It is recommended  physicians notify licensing bodies of concern regarding competence to drive.

When medical conditions or medication changes affect someone’s abilities even the best drivers can become unsafe. Due to the effect of the medical condition, a driver may lack insight into his or her current driving skills. Past driving records and

personal opinions about those skills may not

be relevant when considering if someone is safe to drive.

If there is memory loss, poor judgment, indecisiveness, disorientation or loss of strength, flexibility or balance, it is time to determine if the changes are affecting driving.

SAS understands the need to assess at-risk individuals’ driving competency, however many of the clients they serve are seniors who aren’t familiar with much of the new computer technology, including touch screen.

SAS volunteer Lyle Orchison said they would be taking appointments for the program the first week of September and clients will have two, half-hour appointments within two weeks of each other, as the second appointment builds on the learning received in the first appointment.

“If needed, clients can book more sessions,” Orchison said.

“We want clients to be comfortable with touch screen computers.”

Currently, SAS volunteers are being trained on the touch screen computer in order to provide the most comprehensive orientation for clients.

SAS would also like to acknowledge the Quesnel Human Rights and Civil Liberties Association for their financial support of the new touch screen computer.

To book your appointments for the Touch Screen Computer Awareness: Orientation for On-line Driving Assessment, phone 250-747-8363 after the Labour Day weekend.

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