Mobility Scooters

The issue of mobility for people with visual impairment is significant. In a country like New Zealand there are few transport options, once an individual loses their license.

I am part of a major longitudinal research project examining the process of how people approach driving cessation. My contribution to this is leading a qualitative study of how GPs manage the medical assessment of fitness to drive process.

In another separate project I supervised a student, Keri McMullan, through her honours and master’s. We have now written two articles from this research and Keri has been cited by the Ministry of Transport.

We know that people with visual impairments are more likely than non-sight impaired peers to experience depression, anxiety, social isolation, difficulty completing everyday tasks, difficulty with mobilising around the home and in the community, and to fall. Services can look at environmental adaptations, more psychosocial approaches, and ADLs training. Traditionally orientation and mobility specialists (O&M) look at community mobility but there is overlap between the two professions. Occupational therapists in many countries are responsible for assessment of mobility scooters.

Keri McMullan on a mobility scooter (photo Holly Hoogvliet)




Mcmullan, K. S., & Butler, M. (2018). Low vision and mobility scooters : the experiences of individuals with low vision who use mobility scooters who use mobility scooters. Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, 0(0), 1–7.

McMullan, K & Butler, M., (2018) “Low vision and mobility scooters: How older adults with low vision practice self-regulation when using a mobility scooter” British Journal of Occupational Therapy (in press)

Butler, M (2017) Screening older drivers: an ethical dilemma. 8th New Zealand/Aotearoa Mobilities Symposium – Pavements and paradigms: bringing community back into mobilities, University of Otago, 20-21 November.

Butler, M; Brookland, R; Shope, J (2017) Improving the process of assessing fitness to drive in older drivers Conference for General Practice and Quality Symposium. Dunedin Centre, 27 – 30 July

2016:  “Keep on Moving: Mobility Scooters for people with low vision” R2BuqoOdaoaAOzHU6Kd3RFvGisvzTzkTcqnoc9r2RcG7lIr-i95juOHnI8:// yy1rloWdfo