Kings Regional Rehabilitation Centre provides residence and services to 217 adults with cognitive impairment, physical, intellectual, developmental disabilities, mental health concerns, and social challenges in rural Western Nova Scotia. Clients identified a need to access community services and events, leading to the development of “Community Access Program: An Individualized Training Approach”.

The community access program promotes safety in pedestrian, transport, and community situations through specific lessons on personal safety, managing social success, access to public transportation, and education on maneuvering rural/municipal roadways. The program allows for increased client independence and builds on or introduces skills that foster client community participation. The course includes lesson plans, role play activities, a variety of visuals, checks for understanding, realistic practice on the bus, video modelling, and support for the facilitator and attendee. Many clients in our care could identify a lack of skill or confidence in transportation safety, and when the program was introduced clients began self referring to gain the information they needed to access the community. To ensure understanding staff accompany clients on the bus for trials and “shadow outings” to complete the training.

The community access program assisted clients in supported training, with an estimated 32 clients involved in the education over two years. Several clients now access public transit confidently and training is continually offered with a client specific approach. The primary goals of the course are the individualization of material to promote client success and encouraging client-community safety and participation to develop knowledge and relationship in the community.

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