Man about town – how Geoffrey mastered travel training

DATE: 18 April 2016

Man about town – how Geoffrey mastered travel training
Recently Geoffrey underwent guided travel training at the Kew East Community Hub and is now travelling independently on public transport – something his loved ones had never imagined possible.

Imagine relying on a taxi to get around for 12 years and then learning how to use public transport. Read Geoffrey’s story below to hear how one footy fan kicked a very big personal goal.

Geoffrey is a 31 year old man from Melbourne’s east who attends Yooralla’s Kew East Community Hub. He enjoys spending time with his family and friends, and volunteers with several different sporting organisations including the Adelaide Crows AFL Football Club, Auskick, and Little Athletics.

Geoffrey also has Down Syndrome and has limited verbal skills. While Geoffrey thrives on doing as much for himself as possible, in the past he has required regular support in many areas including relying on taxis as his main mode of transportation.

Recently Geoffrey underwent guided travel training, and is now travelling independently on public transport – something his loved ones had never imagined possible. Now, on days that Geoffrey attends the Community Hub, he independently catches the local bus in the morning, and then again to take him home.

“It’s a big breakthrough for Geoffrey to be able to travel independently,” says Geoffrey’s father, Lawrie.

“He likes to do most things independently, as much as he can, but it’s not something we ever thought he’d be able to do.”

Geoffrey undertook travel training following a conversation with Lawrie and the team at Yooralla’s Kew East Community Hub. They work with customers to establish a set of skill related goals relevant to their needs and aspirations, similar to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) principles.

The program supports various goals, ranging from meal preparation to making a purchase at the shops and using an iPad to basic everyday routines.

“Each participant gets five goals to work on at a time and our team use task analysis to support customers to achieve their goals,” says Service Leader, Shannon Skews.

“This program has been a huge success for all customers. We are now at the point where some customers can use task analysis to self-assess how they are working towards their goals. Customers achieved 72 goals over 6 months and progressed 100 goals. This is a fantastic outcome!”

Geoffrey’s success is a combination of his personal commitment and the support of his family and Yooralla. Geoffrey’s father and Yooralla worked to familiarise Geoffrey with the public transport system and the bus route he would take.

“We broke down his goal into different parts to make it more achievable. At first, Geoff would travel with a support worker or with his father to ensure he could complete all steps independently under supervision. Once Geoff scored 100% on all tasks, he was deemed independent and began to travel solo,” said Ms Skews.

On his travels Geoffrey uses a smartphone app called Life 360. The app can be set up to allow users, in this instance Geoffrey’s father and staff, to locate him on a map and receive notifications when they go to an unexpected location.

As part of supporting customers achieve their goals and prepare for the NDIS we are working with customers to understand what’s important to them and help them to reach their goals.

Learn more about Yooralla’s Community Hubs.

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