Travel Training: Fostering Independence for People with Special Needs

Meet Emily, Program Graduate

Travel Training Graduate from Community Transit on Vimeo.

Emily learned about Travel Training by watching her younger brother, Kevin, gain his independence through the program. Even though Kevin has more limitations than Emily, his bravery and fierce determination were inspiring to her, and the push she needed to find her own path, "I thought if he could be successful at it, I could be successful at it."

Emily started working with Christine, her Travel Trainer, during her senior year of high school. In the beginning Emily's busy school and work schedules only allowed 1-2 sessions with Christine per month. After graduation she was able to meet Christine more often and felt fully confident on the bus within a year of her first session. "At first it was a little bit nerve-wracking, but over time it got more fun and I needed a little less help."

Some of the first places Emily learned to get to by bus were places Kevin went to, such as their family church and Mukilteo beach. Since then Emily enjoys going to the library, the Dollar Store, and Alderwood Mall. She is even dreaming about learning how to get to downtown Seattle by bus, and trying Community Transit's Swift bus rapid transit network once the Swift Green Line opens in March.

Like many teenagers newly out of high school, Emily is trying to decide what is next. She thinks college might be a good plan, but for now she is dedicated to feeling more independent and trying new things. And, of course, being able to get where she wants it a big part of that independence. "Taking the bus often offers me an open door that I haven't opened yet growing up, and I think I want to keep following in Kevin's footsteps."

We think you are just as brave and adventurous as your brother, Emily. Your thoughtfulness and willingness to stay open to new experiences is really inspiring. We can't wait to see where you path leads you next.

Do you know someone with special needs who would benefit from our Travel Training program? Visit communitytransit.org/TravelTraining or call (425) 348-2379.