Getting Ready for the Road
Learning to drive is important for young people’s self-confidence, mental health and independence. Getting a license can be a social status, you no longer have to rely on parents to do the driving.
It can increase access to the wider world; growing opportunities to socialise, join a club, opening up education and job prospects, accessing supports and services.
However, when it comes to obtaining a driving education, often deaf and hard of hearing young people are disadvantaged, they just don’t have the same opportunities as their hearing peers.
Deaf Children Australia wants to change this with Ready Set Drive, the only driving program in Australia dedicated to helping young deaf and hard of hearing people get ready for the road.
It successfully launched the program in 2021 and delivers the program with CRUDE Ultimate Driving Education. Its founder, Courtenay Rufus has extensive experience as a driving instructor. He has helped people that are deaf and that have a disability build their driving knowledge and get their license.
“The responsibility, independence and empowerment that comes with getting a driver’s license is the reason a deaf or hard of hearing person should be afforded the same opportunity as their hearing peers.
“The best way to make our roads better for deaf and hard of hearing people is to provide them with the best possible driver education: the driver is key to safer roads,” Courtenay said.
Why you should take part in Ready Set Drive
The next Ready Set Drive workshop is happening on Tuesday, 12th of April. Register by clicking here.
Courtenay delivers an interactive one-day workshop that keeps people engaged. The social aspect of the workshop also makes it a big drawcard for young deaf people.
“By making learning engaging and relatable, we can create better outcomes for every participant,” said Courtenay.
We received lots of positive feedback from last year’s workshop, read some of the wonderful words sent to us by participants:
- “I wish I had had Courtenay as my driving instructor when I learnt to drive.”
- “[I feel] more prepared for the road.”
If you’d like to learn more about Ready Set Drive, take a look at our event page to see what people will learn.
Tips for teaching Deaf and Hard of Hearing Young People on the road
According to Courtenay, “patience is the fundamental key when teaching anyone to drive”. He has a few key tips to make sure your driving goes smoothly:
- Carry a device or pen and paper and take the opportunity to stop and discuss everything is the best way to get the message across.
- Plan exactly what will happen on the drive with the learner
- Explain a task before it happens to assist with understanding.
- Utilise theory before the practical as opposed to attempting to explain a task on the go – which can become much more complicated on the road.
Correct knowledge and understanding are essential to good driving, and the right training can prepare a driver to face any situation on the road. It’s also important to learn in different conditions – and to develop driving skills in all environments.
Deaf Children Australia has a video to help parents learn a few key signs to support their deaf or hard of hearing child’s driving education. Learn these together before hitting the road.
Making our Roads Safer
Ultimately, the best way to create safer roads is to provide comprehensive driver education – ensuring safer drivers.
“The true meaning of getting a license, besides independence and empowerment, is the responsibility,” Courtenay says.
Together with DCA, Courtenay’s mission is to continue helping young people to learn the important skills they need to undertake the responsibility of driving.
Courtenay hopes his work can minimise accidents and road trauma through comprehensive education. For Courtenay, working with deaf and hard of hearing young people – offering support through Ready Set Drive – has been an integral part of this mission.
“This partnership with DCA has been one of the greatest additions to my mission of reducing road trauma through comprehensive driver education. With DCA and CRUDE partnering together, we’ve been able to really bring that vision to life – and that’s been amazing.”
Find out more about the Ready Set Drive program here.