Our project, committed to inclusive mobility for persons with disabilities, is a key initiative to address a critical need in our society.
The Center d’Enseignement de la Conduit Adaptée (ECSC) has been providing state-of-the-art medical, paramedical, educational and administrative expertise for more than 30 years within the Jacques Calvé Center (Fondation HOPALE). This system supports people affected by a life-threatening accident and has the objective/mission of overcoming the challenges of driving autonomy and inclusion.
Thanks to the purchase, by our LEADER association, of a vehicle adapted to many forms of disability, instructors and occupational therapists have a renewed technological means, essential for learning to drive again. We offer our patients, from all over France and abroad, a service that is very rare on the national territory and give them a new breath of life, a real passport to freedom.
Presentation of the project
The current project aims to address a real societal issue of mobility for people who have suffered a life-threatening accident. Their ability to drive a car represents for them much more than a mere means of transport, it is the guarantee of their autonomy, their freedom and a real prospect of socio-professional integration (access to employment/education, health care and social life).
From this perspective, the Jacques Calvé center in Berck-sur-mer has had a specialized driving school called the Center d’Enseignement de la Conduit Adaptée (ECSC) since 1989, offering a personalized service, responsive to the needs and life plans of persons with disabilities.
In France, there are few adapted driving schools that offer such a full range of skills: rehabilitation doctors, occupational therapists, neuropsychologists, orthoprosthetists, driving teachers, social workers and medical secretaries. This multidisciplinary approach is essential to assess driving skills, recommend personalized technical aids for autonomy, and accompany people throughout the process of driving rehabilitation.
The exceptional aspect of this project lies in the fact of supporting a unique unit in France that offers a complete range of adapted vehicles, ranging from “classic” adaptations to high-tech adaptations (occipital contactors, mini-joystick and mini-steering wheels…) allowing to meet the greatest number of clinical and functional profiles. The ECSC may therefore accompany persons from the territory, from all over France including the overseas departments and territories, but also from abroad (Belgium).
The results obtained by the ECSC are impressive. In 2021, the center completed 591 assessments and 106 reviews with inspectors, including 49 first-time permits. These figures show the significant impact of the ECSC on the lives of many people with disabilities.
However, in order to continue to provide this invaluable support, the ECSC needs to modernize its fleet of vehicles. Currently, the vehicles used for training applicants are aging. Moreover, it was becoming urgent to acquire a new generation vehicle to enable driving in an electric wheelchair.
The LEADER program is a driving force behind this specialized driving school project, which is essential in improving the quality of life and the inclusion of people with disabilities in France. Not only does it provide financial support for the project to renew the fleet of adapted vehicles, but it has also made it possible to give visibility to the project, encouraging other local funders to finance: the municipality of Berck where the project is located, the community of the 7 valleys (neighboring to the project). It has strengthened the project’s territorial anchor but also its national visibility.
Thus, the LEADER program has acted and will be able to act over time as a real lever of opportunities while creating an impetus of solidarity at local level. This dynamic not only helped to achieve the project’s objectives, but also helped to strengthen ties between local actors, working collectively to promote inclusive mobility and the autonomy of people with disabilities.
The emblematic character of the project
One of the main orientations of the LEADER strategy is to take action to improve the quality of life and services. The transition to more inclusive mobility is a long-term process. Frequently, the car remains the only conceivable means of travel. For fully autonomous individuals, the use of public transport, bicycles or walking can be constraining, but nevertheless feasible. However, for those affected by a life-threatening accident, the situation is becoming more complex.
It is in this context that one of the guidelines of the LEADER strategy, which focuses on mobility, support, home support and the autonomy of the elderly or disabled, is set. The project of the Evaluation Center for Adapted Driving (ECSC) is fully in this category. It offers individuals with disabilities the opportunity to regain freedom of action and to strengthen their autonomy. The uniqueness of this project lies in its ability to meet a patient need that remains unmet by other initiatives. It is particularly distinguished by the excellence of the service it offers.
Disability is often relegated to the private sphere, with parents, caregivers and carers taking care of this issue. On the other hand, this project refocuses the individual at the heart of his autonomy, thus restoring balance. The replicability of this project lies not only in the financing of vehicle adaptations, but in its philosophy of making disability a territorial priority. It embodies the realization that the transition to more inclusive mobility is a gradual process, in no way justifying the exclusion of persons with disabilities. This project stands out for its commitment to making disability a central concern of the territory, mobilizing a set of partners around a unifying project.
Gal du Montreuillois
Hauts de France