travelling — Scope | Disability forum
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suek Member Posts: 18 Connected
Hi everyone
I was wondering if anyone had any experiences of traveling by train with their LD child / young adult / adult and whether it was a positive experience or not. I am looking to particularly find out how you, the carers' think improvements could be made for people with LD when traveling by train. How do you manage displays of challenging behaviour for example? How do you reduce anxiety? Any information or advice is welcome. if you have anything to share on this subject please do so, many thanks Sue


  • Alistair
    Alistair Member Posts: 102 Listener
    Preparation, sense of humor and a thick skin. I could elaborate but it's late and I'm off to bed.
  • suek
    suek Member Posts: 18 Connected
    fair enough we all need our sleep:-)
    That is sound advice and common sense but I would also like to know how rail staff could be empowered to assist in a beneficial way (if that makes sense)
  • Heather
    Heather Member Posts: 168 Connected
    Hi. Our son used to hate the noise of train doors. But he is much better now, mainly down to constant travelling to London hospitals. He does get many strange looks. But our worst point is alighting in London. The noise and crowds have freaked him out many times. Re-assurance, ear defenders and a firm hold get us through it. But each trip is different and not very accommodating for those with sensory issues. H
  • suek
    suek Member Posts: 18 Connected
    Hi, thank you for sharing that info with me, it Is very useful. Is there anything you can think of that may possibly make any train journeys easier for your son? Open to suggestions of all kinds, no matter how 'out there' they may be and hopefully one day there may be something in place that will really be helpful :-)
  • sallyaa
    sallyaa Member Posts: 5
    Agree about ear defenders, a must in busy stations. And I always have a bag packed full of things to do, snacks, drinks etc. Pre-booking seats so you're guaranteed a seat is also vital (and makes it cheaper!) We once had a lovely experience when a train had been cancelled. The next one was heaving and of course we didn't have reserved seats for that train. My son was melting down, in complete panic at the disruption to the journey, the busyness, not having a seat, everything. I was very stressed too. I asked the ticket inspector if there was any way I could pay to upgrade to first class so we could get a seat, and explained my son has learning disabilities, of course he could see my son was in a state. The inspector said he'd just come from first class, there was plenty of space, and just to go through. Didn't charge me. It was so wonderful as it was quiet and calm in first class and my son quickly settled (my daughter was impressed too). You feel so visible when your child is having a meltdown in public, to have that understanding and support from the ticket inspector was great (although probably he was breaking the rules by letting us through for free). When he came through the train later inspecting tickets he checked how we were and had a lovely conversation with my son. I've no idea if it's possible for all train company employees to have that level of understanding and empathy, but I think understanding and empathy is the first step.

    I'm not suggesting all disabled people should get free upgrades to first class, on a regular well planned journey my son copes very well on trains, but for staff to be aware of the difficulties delays and changes to schedules can cause to someone with learning disabilities, and have the option to offer an upgrade, would be great.

    Thinking about the bustle of the stations (sorry this is turning into a bit of an essay!) I wonder if a quiet waiting area would help? My worry would be that my idea of quiet (no sensory overload) would be different from many commuters idea of quiet (silence!) and would lead to more mucky looks and feeling awkward?
  • Natasha Brown
    Natasha Brown Member Posts: 108 Courageous
    suek are your working for naional rail company or ?
    i think the more disability awareness raining and espec of ASD/lernin dificulties the better

    practising on short journeys before a long one
  • Alistair
    Alistair Member Posts: 102 Listener
    I was wondering the same thing as natashailg. Are you working for a company?
    Disability awareness training should be part of any induction for people how provide services to the public. (There was something about Clarkes Shoe shops on the forum which illustrates the point.)
  • suek
    suek Member Posts: 18 Connected
    Thank you to all who have responded so far. You have given me some very useful and valuable information. To all carers out there please add to this if you can.
    In reply to your question about working for the railway the answer is no but I am doing some research for a relevant project that is in the pipeline. Thanks again for taking the time and trouble to respond.
  • suek
    suek Member Posts: 18 Connected
    Hi everyone - again :-)
    I was just wondering if any of you had experience of the British Transport Police on any of your many rail journeys? And if so, how did they respond to whatever situation they were dealing with? many thanks in advance Sue
    FATHERSCONTACT Member Posts: 8 Listener
    edited June 2014
    Hi Suek. I have worked with blind people for many years and tried to assist one lady with a problem with louts giving her verbal abuse etc as she tried to leave her station. She spent many weeks trying to get railway staff, Railway Police to assist her and finally gave up changing her route involving a longer and more expensive journey! Hey Ho the world in which we live JohnE
  • suek
    suek Member Posts: 18 Connected
    Hi FATHERS CONTACT Thank you for taking the time to respond to my query, I am sorry to hear that the lady you were assisting had such a negative experience. I am hoping that issues like this can be responded to more efficiently in the future. Yes, the world we live in has many flaws but thankfully also hope as the generousness of carers on this site demonstrates. :-)


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