Date Presented 04/22/2023
This study assessed the feasibility of using clinical observations of driver readiness with young novice students using modified aspects of the OT-FIRST method. The study provides scientific evidence supporting the implementation of this young driver readiness assessment process and approach by OT practitioners. This innovative tool and approach supports a necessary step in addressing service and safety gaps identified in OT practice for teens and young adults.
Primary Author and Speaker: Missy Bell
This study assessed the feasibility of using clinical observations of driver readiness with young novice students using modified aspects of the OT-FIRST method. The study provides scientific evidence supporting the implementation of this young driver readiness assessment process and approach by occupational therapy practitioners.
PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to assess the feasibility of young novice driver readiness assessment using clinical observations from the OT-FIRST method. The specific aims of the study were as follows: 1) To examine the feasibility (practicality, acceptability, utility) of the OT-FIRST Clinical Observation Measure (COM) tool with young adults with and without disabilities 2) To assemble a comprehensive list of recommendations for the revision of this tool and 3) to revise the tool and method’s supplementary materials for functional applications across Occupational Therapy practice settings.
DESIGN: The study design was a quasi-experimental feasibility study using a convenience sample of program participants from an outpatient rehabilitation hospital adaptive driving program and students with relationships to program staff or researchers who met the participation criterion. Thirty-six participants, ages 15 to 25 years, literate in English, and meeting minimum state guidelines for driving potential, consented to engage in the OT-FIRST COM. The main OT-CDRS researcher and OTD student research assistants conducted the OT-FIRST COM with individual participants.
METHOD: Prior to the study, practitioners reviewed the tool and method content for the intended usage, and researchers were trained in individual assessments for competency. Subjects completed an interview to gather preliminary data. Researchers conducted the OT-FIRST COM with individual participants. Researchers used a short scoring and interpretation form designed for the study and asked participants and families for feedback about the tool and experience. Researchers reviewed test performance and scoring impressions following subject completion and performed scientific analysis post-study.
RESULTS: OT-FIRST COM tool use is supported for practitioner use across pediatric to adult transition settings following necessary edits. Narrative data collected from participants and parents who were present responded favorably to the tool and recommendations to enhance readiness. Trends were identified in the convenience sample which reflects implications for the field and indicates a need for more education and research. All clinical assessment items selected from the OT-FIRST COM tool for this study show promise as useful for assessing driver readiness. A potential supplemental screener tool from the OT-FIRST method was not found to be significantly useful; this finding supports prior research pertaining to symbol digit modality testing with this age/stage subject and driving.
CONCLUSION: The results of this feasibility study indicate that with some necessary changes to process and product design, the OT-FIRST Clinical Observation Measure and methodology may be feasible to use by OT Practitioners for young novice driver readiness assessment across practice settings. This innovative tool and approach support a necessary step in helping address service and safety gaps identified in occupational therapy practice for teens and young adults. More research is needed on the OT-FIRST tools and methods as well as by other clinicians in this specialty arena.
Bell, M. (2020). Applying the OT-DRIVE Framework to Serve Young Drivers: Perspectives from a Pediatric Focused Driver Rehabilitation Specialist (Parts 1 & 2). NewsBrake, 44 (2 & 3), 10-11 & 10-12.
Davis, E. S., & Dickerson, A. (2017). OT-DRIVE: Integrating the IADL of driving and community mobility into routine practice. OT Practice, 22 (13), 8-14.
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