The “I Travel with my Phone” app provides users and caregivers with an “easy-to-fit individual-needs” tool to increase travel independence while learning how to use public transportation.
Promoting travel independence for people with cognitive disabilities
Students with cognitive disabilities are taught in school how to use public transportation so they may be autonomous in their travels. Nonetheless, after training they usually remain dependent on adults to take them from place to place (Landeros, 2011). Thus, current travel training programs are not seen as increasing student autonomy (Marini, Lee, Chan, Chaplin & Romero, 2008). These students are isolated at home or with caregivers, and do not move forward in their education or training for employment. This isolation exacerbates their dependent condition and drastically limits their access to social participation, which in turn limits their opportunity for full inclusion into society (Landeros, 2011).
Mobility is a human basic need
A large portion of the 8.9 million Americans identified with a cognitive disability cannot travel independently on account of inadequate training. For these individuals, the ability to use public transportation impacts their ability to live and work independently (Carmien et al., 2005). As required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), every school provides travel-training programs to students before completing high school. However, as stated by Marini et al. (2008), current travel training programs do not help individuals with cognitive disabilities increase their independence. Once they leave high school, they continue depending on a caregiver or on expensive door-to-door programs to travel from place to place (Baginski, 2008).
Easy to use for any cognitive skill level
Individuals with cognitive disabilities present several skill levels in content or vocational areas and have difficulty remembering every step of a particular task. The same occurs when learning to travel independently (Landeros, 2011). The creation of this app facilitates access to information otherwise difficult to master by these students. By presenting graphic as well as verbal instructions, individuals with cognitive disabilities can easily identify the next task and complete it without the burden of memorizing maps, bus numbers, routes, and embarking and disembarking destination stops.
This app allows the use of several levels of scaffolding that can be implemented based on the specific needs of each user and faded according to his/her individual progress. Adding verbal and written instruction allows users recurrent access to a given instruction as many times as needed.
Easy to use navigation menu
This app allows the use of several levels of scaffolding that can be implemented based on the specific needs of each user and faded according to his/her individual progress. Adding verbal and written instruction allows users recurrent access to a given instruction as many times as needed. Caregivers can add an emergency phone number so users can immediately call if they get lost or missed their bus connection. This option is called Panic Button within the app. The iPhone’s current option to find the iPhone can also help caregivers locate users if they are lost.
Learning how to use public transportation is a basic need for individuals with cognitive disabilities in order to increase independence. This app can help them reach this goal.
I Travel with My Phonepromotes travel independence in people with cognitive disabilities.
- Offers the ability to create personalized trips.
- Uses voice, image and text instructions.
- Ability to add specific telephone number to use in case of emergency.
So to resume: