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Driving and Community Mobility Laboratory

General Laboratory Description

Dr. Barco directs the Driving and Community Mobility Laboratory. This scholarly experience gives students interested in fitness to drive the opportunity to work with medically challenged individuals including older adults with dementia, stroke, Parkinson disease and visual disorders. Dr. Barco has a variety of potential projects in the lab focused on the IADL of driving and community mobility. She is also developing a student-run driving assessment program within WUOT. As part of this clinic, students will be trained in the provision of standardized, evidenced-based vision, cognitive and motor assessments to clients seeking a driving assessment.

General Description of Student Activities

Students in this lab will become familiar with the role of occupational therapy in determining fitness to drive. Projects involve a review of pertinent literature related to their unique interest and can be clinic- or research-focused depending on the student’s individual goals. Students should be comfortable working individually as well as with student partners on projects.

Examples of Projects

  • Assist in analyzing data and publishing of results from past/current driving studies related to a specific diagnosis, cognitive/vision/motor function, and quality of life after driving cessation or on-road driving errors within diagnoses.
  • Determine the utility of the online training protocol for standardized scoring of driving errors. The online training program has been established with the help of current and former students and is ready to be pilot tested with driving researchers and driving rehabilitation specialists both locally and nationally.
  • Assist in the development and training of novel performance-based cognitive functional tasks that could potentially be related to driving capacity.
  • Assist in the development and implementation of the WUOT student-run driving assessment clinic.
  • Assist in the development of driving programs that may lead to specific grant funding options for specialized populations (e.g., autism, cancer, driving with physical impairments).
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