Treloar School and College is a residential and day school and college for disabled children and young people in Holybourne near Alton, Hampshire, UK. It offers teaching, learning, professional care, therapy, advice and guidance so that every individual can achieve and work towards a future that is as independent as possible.

Treloar School and Treloar College offer around 170 students, aged 5 to 25 years, a specialist environment where learning takes place alongside therapy and care.

Its students are physically disabled with complex needs and mainstream schools and colleges cannot provide the support they need to achieve their goals.

Many of the young people at Treloar’s require support throughout the day and night – over half the students stay in one of the five residential houses. Residential provision offers huge opportunities to develop independent living skills and enjoy social life beyond the academic timetable.

Ability Drive is ground-breaking software that enables those with complex physical disabilities to drive a power wheelchair with their eyes. Working with Rahana Life, Treloar’s is the first in the UK to offer a driving solution for those that are unable to drive using conventional driving controls such as a joystick or switches. The occupational therapists have already received training and are excited to start trialling it.

Recently Luca became the first Treloar’s student to use the new Ability Drive software. For the first time in his life, Treloar’s student Luca drove his wheelchair by himself, incredibly all by using his eyes!

Developed in the US, the software was delivered to Treloar’s earlier in the year and installed by the Assistive Technology team. Treloar’s became the first in the UK to receive Ability Drive— technology that makes it possible for students like Luca to drive their wheelchairs for the first time in their lives.

Luca is a 22-year-old student with cerebral palsy. After years of unsuccessfully trying to find a way to drive his wheelchair, this new technology gave Luca his first opportunity to experience complete control of moving his wheelchair around.

After his session with his occupational therapist, he couldn’t stop smiling and wanted to show his friends what he could do. Luca used his electronic communication device to tell us that the Ability Drive is “good”, and that he would like to use it again.

The school is now excited to be able to introduce it to other students and continue sessions with Luca for him to develop independent driving skills.

Jenny Duddy one of the Occupational Therapists at Treloar’s, said: “We’re really excited to be able to try something new. We’re always looking to be at the forefront of new technology, so this is a fantastic opportunity for our students to experience new independence that they’ve not had access to before.”

“This incredible experience would not have been possible if it hadn’t been for the generous support from the Delamere Foundation. Thank you so much to the Delamere Foundation for supporting Treloar’s and making life-changing experiences possible for Luca and other young people with complex physical disabilities.”

Here’s some more information on the Ability Drive from Treloar’s.