What is Travel Training?
Travel training aims to help people travel independently and without fear and is presented on a one to one basis, tailored to each client’s individual requirements. It is a series of processes through which a person learns to make a trip on their own and in a safe manner.
The travel training programs available from Environmentally Challenged follow a step by step process through which a person learns to travel a specific route, between two given places, on their own and in a safe and responsible way. This trip could be as simple as going to the local corner shop to buy a loaf of bread or as challenging as travelling to school, college, a place of work, or even another town or city. Because all travel training involves an element of risk the training program must be thoroughly planned well in advance and as far as possible take into account all the variables (or, what ifs) that might occur during the training period. Assessing these risks and making sure that all travel training is safe is the most important part of the work we do.
Why do you need Travel Training?
Knowing how to travel safely, effectively and independently; on foot, in a wheelchair or using other mobility aids; via public transport, taxi or any other means you have available, is an essential requirement of daily life.
This is often taken for granted by most of the travelling public – it is also often forgotten that at some stage in our lives we have all received some kind of travel training support; either with our parents, guardians and family members leading by example or basic road safety training and an introduction to the Green Cross Code by our teachers or local road safety officers.
There are, however, many people who need support, assistance, mentoring and training so they can safely navigate the streets and effectively make use of the various modes of public transportation available.
Many skills have to be used together for you to make a successful journey, especially here in London. Skills such as knowing when, where and how to safely cross a road, follow directions, tell the time, handle money, top up an oyster card, read a timetable, find the right bus stop / tube / train station or change tube all need to work together effectively to get to your destination.
What to Expect
During the course of Travel Training, the same journey will be undertaken several times so as to allow the client to progressively practise and build upon their skills. The first time a journey is undertaken, the client will follow the lead of the trainer and be directed through each and every step along the way. In future journeys, as the client’s skill levels increase and confidence builds; the trainer slowly withdraws support allowing the client more space to make independent decisions until they can complete the journey unassisted.
As the client becomes more comfortable with the journey, the trainer will begin asking ‘what if…?’ questions such as:
- ‘What if you forget your travelcard?’
- ‘What if you miss your stop?’
- ‘What if you get on the wrong bus?’
- ‘What do you do if a stranger approaches?’
- ‘What if you get lost?’
- ‘What if you have an accident?’
There are many questions which can be asked which can help prepare the traveller for life on the road.
The client’s performance is assessed using a series of log sheets to help identify where progress is being made, and which areas need work. These logs are filled in throughout each journey with the client.
For example, when travelling to a bus stop, initially the trainer demonstrates every aspect of the journey to the client. As the client’s understanding of road safety increases, they can begin to take the lead. In future sessions the client can undertake the journey with the trainer a few steps behind, observing closely and ready to intervene if needed. In the final sessions, as the client further improves and shows competence, the trainer can maintain a good distance and monitor from afar.
Each aspect of the travel training course can be steadily extended in this way. With patience and encouragement the client will soon show competence and an ability to cope with most situations that the journey can throw at them. At this point the trainer can take another step back, meeting the client at the bus stop, seeing them onto the bus, and meeting them again (or arranging for a colleague/parent to meet the client) when they get off the bus at their destination.
At this point the trainer will meet with the client / parent / referee to discuss the client’s progress and opportunities for more advanced training if desired.