Total Ability, Helping Ame Barnbrook Drive

Ame Barnbrook was born with no arms, one leg and three toes … and she uses those toes for “absolutely everything”.

So far “everything” is a pretty impressive list that includes representing Australia in competitive sailing and playing the trumpet.

Ame also operates her wheelchair, phone and computer using her toes in the same way most of us use our fingers.

However, since she was a teenager, Ame would tell anyone who asked that the “biggest dream in her life” was to learn to drive a car.

When Ame first looked at the possibility, assistive technology just hadn’t developed far enough to help her realise that dream.

Zoom forward to now and the story is very different.

Ride Media’s Rob Arnold met Ame as she was embarking on her second driving lesson.

As his video story shows, Ame is now on her way to a licence with the help of Total Ability’s High-Level Assessment Van equipped with some cutting-edge technology.

In the video, Rob talks to Ame about much more than her driving ambitions: he asks about Ame’s condition – she is literally one in five million – and how a wide range of technology and bespoke designs have allowed Ame to adapt her environment so that she is able to live a full life.

We learn how Ame sails, plays the trumpet and negotiates a wide range of activities.

The video also explains and shows in detail the full process of how Ame gets behind the wheel and operates a car.

We see how she enters the vehicle, secures her position behind the wheel, and how she uses a range of equipment to complete all the actions required to drive.

Ame’s story certainly leaves us with a totally different perspective on how many more people with a wide range of disabilities can now achieve more independence by learning to drive. The possibilities and solutions are almost endless.

Learning to drive, however, does leave Ame with one major problem: she now has to find a new dream!

Watch the video above, or read the full article by Rob Arnold on the Ride Media website which also covers the background of Total Ability’s Paul Crake as well as more on Ame’s story.

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