Special educational needs Independent Travel Training
Q&A FROM ADAM'S DAD
When was Adam diagnosed with Autism and how severe a case is it?
Adam was diagnosed rom the age of 2. His condition is somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. It is more severe than Asperger’s.
Has Adam had any previous travel training?
Adam has undergone various travel training initiatives at his school, paid for by Croydon Council, but we still did not feel comfortable enough to let him travel independently to school.
Why didn’t you let him travel independently?
We were too worried about his general safety and in particular, stranger danger and crossing roads… The predominant concern was the thought of what we would do if he got into trouble? How would we know, how would we find him….
How did HomeRun help you get over those obstacles?
Adam always wanted to travel by himself and HomeRun gave us the confidence to finally let him start. The fact that we could see where he was at all times, track his journeys and know when had reached school safely made a huge difference and helped us finally make the decision.
How did you get Adam started for his first even Independent journey?
HomeRun was really simple to set up, we just followed the instructions and were up and running in minutes.
I took Adam on a few journeys, using the HomeRun journey monitoring feature and then he went on his own and has been doing so ever since.
How does Adam feel about using HomeRun?
Autistic children generally rely on and like routine, so Adam enjoys the routine of tracking his journeys with HomeRun and hasn’t missed a single journey in over 2 months.
He also likes using technology and really enjoys statistics. HomeRun’s journey dashboard is of particular interest to him as it shows him fun metrics of his commutes.
How is HomeRun helping him make more complex journeys?
Adam has started attending a new college which is over 6 miles away from us. He is traveling on his own taking two long bus journeys with a change in Croydon town centre. He is tracking them on HomeRun.
We would never have considered him making that journey by himself previously.
We now plan on letting him travel on his own to more and more places and plan on getting him using the underground as well.
Has travelling independently affected Adam?
Yes, massively. He is so much more empowered and liberated. Its wonderful for us to see him so confident.
I genuinely feel more confident about his ability to live a more complete life and his job prospects are greatly improved as well. Adam has a better future ahead of him now.
Do you have any advice to other parents of SEND pupils?
I would say that if it’s at all possible, take the plunge and let your children travel independently. It makes such a big difference to the whole family and most importantly builds your child’s confidence.
We all worry about our children’s futures but the more independent and empowered we see them, the more hopeful we can all be.
Finally, do you have any advice for Schools and Councils regarding SEND transport?
Please be proactive and adopt effective solutions with more urgency. Embrace innovation and help families to help themselves. The increased independence of SEND children will lead to better job prospects and give them the chance to lead an independent life away from state-dependency.