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Early Outset: Building Familiarity and Comfort with Urban Bus/Rail Transport in Young Blind, Visually Impaired and Multi- Impaired Children and their Care-givers.

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Presentation on theme: "Early Outset: Building Familiarity and Comfort with Urban Bus/Rail Transport in Young Blind, Visually Impaired and Multi- Impaired Children and their Care-givers."— Presentation transcript:

1 Early Outset: Building Familiarity and Comfort with Urban Bus/Rail Transport in Young Blind, Visually Impaired and Multi- Impaired Children and their Care-givers. Betsy Armstrong, Hunter O&M

2 Blind/visually impaired persons spend much of their lives on public transportation. Yet for many it is not relaxed or entertaining. Priming the travel experience for children by allowing them some of the freedom sighted youngsters enjoy may ‘de-rail’ the future angst. Early travel training can produce customers who are comfortable, competent and socially engaged while traveling. It is a collaboration of The System, The Family and The Young Traveler.

3 The System Public transit systems are prepared to assist Blind/Visually Impaired customers. “Positive experiences of public transport in childhood form the foundation for positive attitudes towards public transport… You build up the customer base of the future.” - ELSA, 2008

4 The System Policies direct transit providers to be prepared for Blind and Visually Impaired customers who have “ alternative to public transport for many trips.” This study itemized steps for drivers to improve sensitivity for blind users. -- Gollege, Marston and Costanzo, 1997

5 The System According to A. Corn “individuals who are blind feel less fearful and more self-confident and perceive that they are accepted by the community when transit operators display an understanding of and positive attitudes toward them.” In kind, this research tells that negative public perception forms when the blind customer is ill at ease. - Almon, 2001

6 The System Very young children get school transportation, often without much preparation of what to expect and how to behave. “ Schools can better meet these requirements by …having their drivers and monitors undergo the training required to work with infant and preschool individuals.” - Thomas, 2004

7 The System With the goal of improving the travel experience, this British study solicited information from “young disabled people (who) have very individual experiences of safety” and social interactions. It focused on “disabilist bullying and harassment” as a public situation that can be addressed by disability equality training and social awareness. The Staying Safe Consultation recommends: information and advice, partnership and policy, risk assessments for safety and abuse, and socially inclusive education. - Skill: National Bureau for Students with Disabilities, 2007

8 What has the System done? Urban Transit Systems are attuned to the needs and concerns of Blind and Visually Impaired travelers. The Young Traveler will find receptive providers but should learn how to interact both with workers and fellow travelers. For the System, safety and satisfaction are easier when the traveler is familiar with the the System.

9 The Family If a family’s travel needs include mass transit, parents can prepare their B/VI child to accompany them. By cooperating with an E.I. O&M instructor, this study concluded that “Parents can successfully execute a pre-mobility intervention program for their children.” - Harley, Long, Merbler, Wood and Langley, 1987

10 “Children with visual impairments should be taught important functional skills related to independent use of public transportation where appropriate.” This investigation found that there is a need for heightened physical fitness in order to navigate barriers found in both home and community settings. Children are more active when they are involved with families that are more active - Ayvazoglu, Oh and Kozub, 2005 The Family

11 The Barriers Inventory found that parent’s encouragement and their beliefs in the B/VI children’s abilities showed a strong correlation to the child’s beliefs in their own physical abilities. The results indicate that children’s perceived parent messages of fear about the child’s safety, of the priority of O&M, and the value of physical activity were noted as hurdles for parents of B/VI children. - Stuart, Lieberman and Hand, 2006

12 The Family Family-centered early O&M intervention is based on understanding and respect of family choices, values, privacy, and priorities. The O&M professional can work intimately with families to have a major impact on a child’s physical and social development. -Anthony, 2002

13 What can the Family do? The Family’s level of physical and social activity directly forms the future of the blind/visually Impaired child. Early O&M intervention can train both child and family in safe, fun practices of transportation. A parent, care-giver or sibling can learn to model travel skills and interactions for the Young Traveler.

14 The Young Traveler Young B/VI children must be offered participation in all pre- school activities, including transportation. E. Joffee recommends that children start travel skills as soon as VI is identifiable. Early intervention programs include basic O&M skills including environmental awareness and sensori-motor skills of travel. -Thomas, 2004

15 The Young Traveler …must learn these concepts of mass transit travel (Grace): Personal space Knowledge of environment Recognition of danger Danger response - Bourland, 1996

16 The Young Traveler “ The early years are a time to confirm the developmental possibilities of a growing child with his or her parents and to reinforce O&M concepts and skill development within daily care and play routines. An O&M Specialist on an early intervention team can truly make an important difference in these early precious years that will set the stage to last a lifetime. ” - Anthony 2005

17 The Young Traveler To gain social competence to interact with others on public transport, place young students in situations where they will have both good and bad experiences to help them to develop strategies for dealing with similar situations. - Wagner,2004

18 What can the Young Traveler do? A sighted child learns how to behave and interact socially with other riders on urban mass transit by experimentation and example. A Young B/VI Traveler’s experience can be facilitated by an O&M early interventionist, working with the family, to allow for maximum appreciation, safety and fun within their transportation system.

19 System, Family, Young Traveler: A Team for Travel Summary : To produce Young Travelers able to appreciate safe, social interaction and sensory stimulation in public transit and allow Families to take advantage of an urban transit System, intervention at an early age is needed.

20 What’s the role of the O&M specialist? The System, the Family and the Young Traveler do not articulate unassisted in the travel process. An O&M Early Interventionist can relay transit system procedures, assure the family of safety, and move the child closer toward being a comfortable, competent, and socially engaged Young Traveler.

21 Referenced Literature Almon, Pamela A.,(2001) Mass Transportation Operators' Beliefs About Visual Impairment JVIB 95 no1 5-13 Anthony, T.L. (2005) Families, Babies, and O&M: Early Conversations, from Developmentally Appropriate Orientation and Mobility, CDI Ayvazoglu, N.R. and Oh, H-K (2006) Explaining Physical Activity in Children with Visual Impairments: A Family Systems Approach, Exceptional Children, v.72 no.,2 p. 235-48 Bourland, E. et. al. (1996) Travel training for Youth with Disabilities, National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities, Washington D.C. ELSA Research and Development Programme for Accessibility, (2003-2004) Accessible Customer Service in Public Transport. Gollege, R.G. and Marston, J.R. (1997) Attitudes of Visually Impaired Persons Toward the Use of Public Transportation, JVIB vol 91 no. 5 pp. 446-459 Marley, R., Long, R., Merbler, J., Wood, T., Langley, B. (1987) O&M for Blind Infants, Office of Education Research and Improvement, ERIC/CEC, Washington D.C. SKILL Policy Team (2007) Staying Safe consultation response, Skill: National Bureau for Students with Disabilities, Stuart, M.E., Lieberman, L. and Hand, K.E. (2006) Beliefs About Physical Activity Among Children Who Are Visually Impaired and Their Parents, JVIB, vol. 100 No. 4 Thomas, D.D. (2004) Twenty Ways to Use Transportation as a Related Service, from Intervention in School and Clinic vol. 39 no. 4 pp. 240-245 Wagner, E. (2004) Practice Report: Development and Implementation of a Curriculum to Develop Social Competence for Student with Visual Impairments in Germany, JVIB vol. 98 no. 11

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