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E-News

Consortium for the Educational Advancement of Travel Instruction (CEATI)

Volume 1   Issue 1                  SUMMER 2008
     

 

IN THIS ISSUE

1. Welcome
2. Mobility Devices
3. SAFE

 
 
 
link to conference page and schedule
 
welcome to CEATI
 

BOARD MEMBERS:
Glenn Beigay
Bruce B. Blasch
Jay Furlong
Michelle Holsopple
Bonnie Minick
Jim Shampoe
Eileen Siffermann
Patti Voorhees
Jim White
William Wiener

 
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WELCOME

On a summer evening a few years ago a small group of travel instructors were discussing the need for professional growth and how to best fulfill that need. That same group of professionals formed the nucleus for what we now proudly call, Consortium for the Educational Advancement of Travel Instruction (CEATI). Our purpose is to provide professional development, through a variety of venues, to those persons who provide travel instruction to individuals with disabilities; other than blindness. The ten board members of our consortium have similar philosophies on the knowledge and demonstrable skills we feel are essential for travel instructors.

As in the development of any profession, there exist numerous beliefs and personal opinions. We believe, however, that all travel instructors have one common goal, and that is to provide training, or instruction, to a person with a disability so that independence can be achieved for safe travel in the community. What CEATI will offer through conferences and workshops are professional development opportunities which will continue to enhance the knowledge for travel instructors, related professionals, and those interested in the field.

Why are specific competencies necessary for travel instructors? Consider just one of many essential skills for an individual with a disability to acquire that of crossing a street safely, and with 100% competency. Below is an edited excerpt from Street crossing Issues for Persons with Cognitive Disabilities: Uncharted Waters, Voorhees, Lister, 2005. (Given as a paper presentation for the Transportation Research Board's 85th Annual Meeting, January 2006.)

What cognitive skills are necessary to cross a street safely? What particular characteristics of cognitive impairments can make it more challenging for individuals to cross? How do these differ from the needs of people who use wheelchairs or have visual impairments?

It must be recognized that, for persons with cognitive impairments, judgment and decision-making in an environment of risks, ambiguity, and complexity can be difficult, incomplete or problematic.

The authors have identified that crossing safely requires that one demonstrate the ability to identify, sort, and process information, arrive at a decision, and do so in 30 seconds or less (independently, without coaching):

  • Select all necessary information-visual/symbol, aural, verbal, text/written, environmental, architectural.

  • Process all necessary information.

  • Ignore non-relevant information.

  • Determine whether and when to begin crossing.

This means:

  • Identifying the intersection.

  • Identifying the crosswalk.

  • Recognizing and understanding the cue system governing that intersection (traffic signal, pedestrian signal, absence or presence of a turn signal, stop sign, signal activation button, etc.)

  • Identifying the appropriate time to begin crossing.

  • Identifying vehicles that may turn into pedestrian crosswalk, and from which direction.

  • Assessing speed and travel paths of approaching vehicles.

  • Assessing duration of gaps between approaching vehicles.

  • Initiating crossing when safe, or deciding to wait for the next cycle.

Crossing safely also requires mobility skills--being able to move quickly enough to cross during the walk and clearance interval. If the crossing or intersection involves pedestrian island(s), the individual may have to successfully perform each of these tasks all over again, perhaps repeating them several times.

Some of the factors identified by the authors that can make it challenging for persons with cognitive disabilities to cross include:

  • Ability to selectively attend to important features of the intersection: Which information is relevant? Essential?

  • Information processing speed: Individuals with a cognitive disability frequently require more time to process information.

  • Distractibility/concentration: One's ability to focus-to selectively ignore stimuli--may be impaired. Thus certain types of traffic signals, and environmental distracters such as loud music, colorful signs or digital displays, can be problematic.

  • Pattern recognition among moving objects: It may also be difficult for these individuals to judge the speed and/or distance of approaching vehicles.

  • Recognition of elapsed time: How long have I been waiting here? Will I have enough time to cross safely?

  • Fear/confusion: At locations such as shopping centers or other busily- traveled roadways, there typically is a constant flow of traffic. It is not unusual for persons who have a severe cognitive impairment to only feel comfortable to make a decision to cross in the complete absence of moving traffic.

  • Limited walking speed, or use of a mobility device.

The passage above outlines the skills in which travel instructors must be competent when teaching a person with a disability to travel. Travel instructors must demonstrate the ability to evaluate the capabilities of the person referred for travel instruction. The instructor must then be able to design and adjust instruction to the individual receiving travel instruction.

We, as CEATI board members, approach our goals with a tremendous amount of enthusiasm and a positive outlook. Our first conference intends to provide fundamental knowledge necessary for any travel instructor; whether they work within a school system, a rehabilitation agency, community agency, an adult agency, or a transit system. Seminar sessions are being provided by experienced travel instructors, and we are thrilled to have the two keynote speakers who will share their expertise.

We look forward to seeing you in October. Please refer to our website (link below) for a detailed agenda, registration forms, and contact information. AND - please feel free to share our conference and contact information with others who are interested in professional development opportunities to further the profession of Travel Instruction. We look forward to coming together to learn from one another!

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MOBILITY DEVICES
by Jay Furlong, M.Ed.

If you work with persons who use mobility devices, this is a "can't miss" training session.

The University of Pittsburgh Human Engineering Research Laboratory (HERL) is one of the top programs in the world. At their facility they use state of the art equipment to make sure that a client is properly fitted into their new device. They also can do every test imaginable to test the durability of a mobility device. Some of the tests you may witness are:

  • A drop test (the mobility device is hoisted and then dropped).

  • A tire tread test.

  • The barometric chamber where they can make it rain, snow, or test for extremes in temperature.

These are just a few of the unique capabilities you will be able to see during the visit to HERL.

You will also be introduced to the current ANSI/RESNA WC 19 wheelchair standards. If it is state of the art, chances are the Human Engineering Research Laboratory had a role in the development and/or testing of the equipment.

Not only will this be a great resource for future reference but it will give the practioneer invaluable insights into the dynamics of mobility devices and the impact on the people who use them. Click on the HERL link below or on our website.

Travel Instructors who work with persons using mobility devices not only have to be familiar with a plethora of various devices but they must also have a working knowledge of how to properly secure the devices when being transported on a mass transit vehicle. Many people think they know how this should be done but that doesn't always translate into what is safest for the client.

For those who wish to participate, there will be a hands-on program on how to correctly secure a mobility device. This training will be provided by Travel Instructors who have been certified by Q'Straint. The Q"Straint Corporation is the industry leader in securements for mobility devices. A certificate will be awarded to those who complete the training at a competency level of 100%.

http://www.herlpitt.org/

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SAFE
by Jim Shampoe, Transit Mobility Instructor - RTC of Southern Nevada

Have you ever been out training a client in a mobility device and when you boarded the transit vehicle, the driver had no idea where to place the vehicles safety securements to your client's wheelchair or scooter? Do not feel like you are alone, this is a problem that I have encountered many times and I have developed a solution to your problems.

Mobility device design has come a long way in a few short years, but unfortunately some of the manufacturers are still not creating obvious and safe securement areas on their mobility devices.

I have spent many hours on the phone speaking with the people responsible for making these mobility devices and have expressed my concerns to them about safety issues that come with boarding this type of equipment on fixed route transit vehicles. One of the first responses I usually get is that; "These mobility devices were not made to go on public transportation." It's always nice to get the legal ease out of the way right from the get go. We then go on to discuss how important it is for such securement spots to exist on these devices for the owners safety and to prevent damage to their costly equipment.

What it boils down to is that the manufacturers are worried about liability which spills over to transit agencies and ultimately to the client's themselves.

So what is the answer? I thought about this problem for a long time and wondered what I could do to better protect my client, make sure that their mobility device was not damaged, and lastly speed up the boarding process and reduce liability claims for my employer The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada. I ultimately looked to a program that was being run at Orange County Transit in California and modified that program to fit our needs and S.A.F.E. "Securement Assistance For Everyone" was born.

The RTC's S.A.F.E. Program consists of going out to a client's home and securing high visibility nylon straps to their mobility devices. These straps are installed by trained staff who have consulted with mobility device manufacturers to locate the strongest points on the mobility device to secure the straps to. Staff also takes pictures of where the straps were installed to protect the transit agency in case the client were to relocate them to a different part of their mobility device and damage were to occur from that. Lastly, the client signs a release form which relieves the transit agency from liability in case of an accident on the transit vehicle.

The securement straps that are being used are manufactured by New Haven Moving Company in New Haven Connecticut. These straps have been tested to withstand a 30mph crash with an impact of 20 G's.

The main benefit of using these straps is that the client is secured properly every single time that they board a transit vehicle; both fixed route and paratransit. Secondary benefits are that drivers are not securing to places on the mobility device that may damage it. This in and of itself greatly reduces claims against the transit agency and their contractor. Mobility devices are costly and most of the people using them are on fixed budgets and are unable to go out and buy a new one if theirs is damaged. Lastly, the program helps to speed boarding and that saves the transit agency money by increasing on time performance and helps change regular transit riders perceptions of people using mobility devices on fixed route vehicles. Regular transit riders usually hate seeing a person waiting at a transit stop with a mobility device because they know the boarding process will be time consuming, which could possibly make them miss transfers and be late for work or appointments.

The money that the transit agency spends for these straps is greatly outweighed by the benefits described above.

My program has been up and running for about two years now and we get rave reviews from both clients and drivers.

I will be demonstrating this program's benefits during the "wheelchair securement certification" portion of this year's CEATI Conference in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania?. I hope to see you all there!

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