Independent Travel - What do we do?
Within our Young Adult and Transition Support team we offer support through our weekly term social group as well as working on a 1:1 basis with the young people. We help develop many different independent life skills to enable them reach their full potential as they reach adulthood. One such life skill is Independent Travel, which through funding from Paths for All- Smarter Choices, Smarter Places Fund, has enabled us to develop our Independent Travel project.
Whether this is helping a young person to catch a bus for the first time or developing skills the young person already has for travelling by public transport or even walking somewhere. We tailor a travel plan to each and every young person we support.
Sometimes we can work on travel skills through our 1:1 work and other times we also work in groups. For example in the October Holidays our Young Adult Social Group travelled by bus to Scone to go and visit For Art Sake to complete an art activity, and this term we have travelled by bus to North Inch Community Campus for our Sports Activity night.
Now you may be wondering how we get to the point of sitting on a bus with a young person who may have never travelled this way before and who could perhaps have a high level of anxiety about experiencing something new and different for them.
A typical plans starts like this: The staff will work with the young person starting on a ‘Travel Plan’. We talk over concerns they may have about different aspects of the journey and we plan them out and work out strategies that will help them through the journey. We then work on a specific journey plan and then work towards the journey itself. At this stage some young people will be able to go straight to the bus and journey successfully with support from our team member. However others will need to perhaps walk to the bus stop look at the buses, suss out the walk to the bus stop before getting the bus. Again this is all tailored in their individual plans and there is no set time scale for this part as it’s different for everyone.
Some young people then will pick up the routine very quickly and we will scale back support, for example the young person may be able to get the bus and the staff member would then meet them at the stop they get off at. Others will have staff support throughout the journey for a bit longer however to develop their skills we will allow the young person to take the lead. In some cases we get the young person to show the staff member where to go/what bus to get, as if the staff member has never done it before.
In addition to working directly with our young people we also work with their parent/carers. Whether this is supporting them in applying for a bus pass for their child or by recommending training for them to attend. We offer specific training on independent travel in our ‘Promoting Independence’ training as part of our wider training programme.
During 2019 we have held two “Pop Up Weeks” for young adults and their parent/carers around Money Matter and Emotional Health and Wellbeing, and in 2020 we will be continuing this approach with a week dedicated to Independent Travel, during which there will be various sessions for both the young people and their parents.
Don't just take our word for it! One young person told us:
“I am nervous about this but I am going to go for it as I know I have support.”
And from a parent:
“What a fantastic achievement for all three young people. I feel so proud of my daughter in using the bus as she would never have done this before.”
If you would like any further information regarding independent travel or would like to speak to a member of our Young Adult team. Please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org