Emily was anxious about Travel Training but her nerves disappeared after a couple of days with her trainer Carla. She is happy with her newly developed travel skills and plans to use these to go shopping with her friends.
Emily was in Year 10 and was keen to become an independent traveler. Emily’s parents were both very supportive of training and keen for Emily to be as independent as possible. Emily lives in a market town about 9 miles from the centre of Norwich with reasonably good bus links and with a journey time of 50-60 minutes to school. Emily was excited when she met Adam the coordinator and Carla the travel trainer and was looking forward to training but was also understandably anxious.
Emily’s first week consisted of learning some basic travel skills and orientation of the route they would be using for training, as well as getting to know Carla better so that they could build a good rapport during training. “I was nervous on my first day but after a couple of days my nerves went.” Once settled in Emily and Carla worked together to progress training at a pace that was right for Emily. Her confidence grew as she progressed each day through the training, “I was surprised at first. I wasn’t sure I could do all that”.
Part of the training supports young people asking for help to ensure they have the confidence to do this independently once training has finished. Emily has speech, language and communication needs and for her this was a scary prospect at first. Carla would initiate discussions with safe strangers such as bus drivers and staff in places such as the forum in Norwich and gradually introduced Emily into the conversations so that her confidence grew when asking for help, “We practised these scenarios such as asking the bus driver for the right stop.”
Emily had to catch a connecting bus in the centre of Norwich and at peak times this area was always busy and could be a challenging environment. With good support at the start of training and then the gradual withdraw of support as Emily gained more confidence Carla said, "I have seen a rise in Emily’s confidence during training, most notably with connecting in the city and navigating the occasional crowds”
There is no set time limit for training as each young person will progress at a different pace. Emily’s training lasted just over 6 weeks and she felt the pace of training was right for her, “Carla explained everything well, lots of texts and I always knew what was happening next.”
Now that training has finished Emily is keen to increase her independence further by going shopping with her friends in Norwich and is looking forward to making use of her newly developed travel skills and confidence. Emily says that without Travel Training, “I’d still be on the minibus and wouldn’t be able to travel to school on my own.”
Emily’s Parent, Mrs. Sewell, was pleased with the way the process of training worked, “Everything was explained really well before training started and Carla communicated with us every day so that we knew what was going on”. Although understandably nervous about the start of training, Mrs. Sewell would recommend the process to other families “I’m proud of Emily and training has helped her become more confident and independent.”