Olivia was bored travelling to school in a taxi. She now enjoys travelling by train, and is confident to deal with the unexpected, like missing a train and mistakes on the departure board.
Olivia, a Year 7 student with a Special Education Need, was travelling to school in Norwich every day in an individual taxi which she said was “boring”. She wanted to travel independently but had very low confidence about her ability and particularly was anxious about using the train saying she could not do it. Sue, the Travel Trainer, then worked with her every day first catching the bus until Olivia reached the point where the confidence she had built meant she was ready to start using the train. The first time she completed this she gave Sue a high five and said she felt brilliant. An added benefit was one of her friends also took this train increasing her social opportunities.
The distance she travelled independently was increased in stages until she was going the whole distance on her own with Sue calling her to check on her journey and make sure she got to school and home safely. Observations were completed of her travelling alone in which she showed excellent travel skills and behaviour including great patience while waiting for the Pelican crossings to turn green without being influenced by others crossing when not safe to do so.
Olivia was taught how to deal with unexpected situations, how to keep herself safe while travelling and who safe strangers to ask for help are. She was faced with real life challenges during training such as when she missed the train. Olivia calmly looked at the information board to find the next departure, checked this with train staff and then phoned her mum to let her know. Another time the display board on the train was showing the wrong destination which she recognized and asked the train guard who thanked her for being observant and reported this to an engineer to get fixed.