Driving and Community Mobility Laboratory
General Laboratory Description
Dr. Barco directs the Driving and Community Mobility Laboratory, in which students are actively incorporated into both clinical and research experiences. Students have the opportunity to observe and perform occupational therapy vision, motor, cognitive screens, and performance-based cognitive assessments on medically challenged individuals including older adults with dementia, stroke, Parkinson disease and visual disorders as part of determining fitness to drive. Students observe how interpersonal communication skills and therapeutic use of self can be utilized to assist in providing sometimes-difficult driving recommendations (including driving retirement) to clients and families and transition plans after driving cessation.
General Description of Student Activities
Students in this lab will become familiar with the role of occupational therapy in utilizing a variety of screens and assessments when determining fitness to drive. Projects can be clinic- or research-focused, depending on the student’s individual goals.
Examples of Projects
- Assist in the development and training of novel performance-based cognitive functional screens to be used when determining driving capabilities in cognitively challenged individuals
- Assist in the development of occupational therapy’s role in interventions supporting best practice in the development of alternative transportation options to driving to maintain participation
- Assist in the development of services for specialized populations (e.g., autism, driving with physical impairments) related to driving abilities
- Continue the study of the effectiveness of an on-line training program to standardize the measurement of driving errors observed during the on-road assessment