PARAVAN GmbH was recently presenting its driving school for the first time at the German Driving Instructors' Congress in Berlin. In addition to the special needs and requirements of training for people with disabilities, the focus was set specifically on technical solutions for training. Not all people can simply sit in a normal passenger car and take the test there.
Whether handheld, gas ring or joystick. The PARAVAN driving school can train students with all disabilities.
"Often driving schools with students with handicap come to their limits, here we would like to inform and show alternative training approaches and solutions," says the head of the PARAVAN driving school in Pfronstetten Aichelau Ralf Buhmann. In addition, disabled training can be an attractive second pillar for the established local driving school.
The PARAVAN driving instructors will present solutions from the field of mobility for the disabled and also offer driving tests, in the driving school vehicle equipped with the Space Drive digital driving and steering system, on the outdoor grounds. This enables people with major physical limitations, such as tetraplegia, or with very little residual strength in their limbs to drive a vehicle, for example with a joystick or accelerator-brake slider.
Suddenly paraplegic, stroke or a neuromuscular disease with progressive symptoms – for many people this means a significant restriction of individual mobility. You can no longer simply get in your car and drive somewhere. But that doesn't have to be the case. There are many ways to adapt a car to the corresponding symptoms and to modify it individually. After a traffic medical report, in which the cognitive requirements for the future driving of a vehicle are checked, many people with handicap can continue to drive a car. With an appropriately adapted driving school vehicle, the relevant examinations or acceptance tests can be taken – the start of a new mobility that continues to enable participation in working life and social life.
PARAVAN GmbH and its driving schools in Pfronstetten-Aichelau and Heidelberg have been offering specialized training for people with disabilities for over 15 years. This does not always have to be the complete training, often a follow-up training after an illness or an accident is sufficient. "We then invite the customers to our site and discuss solutions, together with the technical sales department and TÜV," says Buhmann. In most cases, a colleague from technical sales is already involved at this stage, who can advise on the implementation of the driving solution and identify ways to obtain financing or approval for the conversion from the funding agencies. Customers usually complete the theoretical driving training at home and then only come to the PARAVAN driving school for the practical training. Training in accompanied driving from 16 or the trailer driving license can also be obtained here.
The PARAVAN driving school fleet is set up individually with different vehicles. The vehicles are selected according to the handicap and adapted accordingly. PARAVAN driving instructors can draw on an extensive portfolio of individual driving and steering aids – for every clinical picture: starting with the multifunctional rotary knob, accelerator ring, hand devices for accelerator and brake, left throttle, pedal covers and pedal raisers through to the Space Drive digital driving & steering system, which in turn can be placed in the car with completely different input devices in completely different places – as required.
The offer at the 8th Driving Instructor Congress in Berlin was aimed at driving schools that offer practical driving training for people with physical disabilities or are considering adding this service to their portfolio. Our driving instructors on site informed about different driving solutions for driving students with disability. There is also the possibility of cooperation as a PARAVAN partner driving school. This allows them to benefit from our extensive knowledge of driving licenses for people with disabilities. The partners receive support in the processing of applications to cost units, driving instructor further training in the VPA. PARAVAN GmbH also offers optimal vehicle conversion solutions and driving aids for driving schools and for learner drivers after they have passed their driving test.
Being a driving instructor in this field is something very special: "Sure, it is sometimes a challenge, especially when it comes to the technical solution, or later the unaccustomed effort during training," reports driving instructor Horst Hilsenbeck. "Once the perfect fit is found, it's just fun and motivates to go or drive this way together with the customers. It's sometimes a challenge, but people have an unconditional will to regain their mobile freedom." Passing a test is always a very special moment, he says, because it means the first hurdle has been cleared.