Getting out and about in the community can be a challenge for some kids. This may be due to reasons such as anxiety, sensory overload or communication difficulties. However, there are many OT based activities you can practice with your child in the community to increase their independence. These activities can be made into a fun adventure for our little/big explorers!
Our OTs run a holiday group called OT Urban Challenge. This program involves catching public transport into the community and participating in some fun activities to increase their independence. In a past OT Urban challenge adventure, the group caught the bus to and from Balgowlah and Manly. They used their problem-solving skills to order lunch, navigate the roads and access community sights such as the local police station – this was a big hit with the kids!
The Urban Challenge is a unique way of delivering OT for kids to maximise their independence in an environment relevant to them. It is also an excellent opportunity for the kids to practice skills and goals they have been working towards in their individual OT sessions with us. One of the most rewarding aspects of our OT Urban Challenge day is seeing the kids make new friends and practising their social skills in real life, which is the ideal outcome for our clients and their family!
Below are some further ideas that you can incorporate into a community outing.
Catching Public Transport
- Topping up Opal card
- Tapping Opal card on/off
- Standing behind the yellow lines
- Reading the train/bus timetable
- Identifying the correct train/bus
- Respecting other passengers
- Wearing a face mask (if required by COVID-19 restrictions)
Navigating a Shopping Centre
- Identifying toilet signs
- Identifying exit signs
- Identifying different levels
- Reading a map
- Locating shops
Buying Food and Drink
- Waiting patiently in line
- Respecting other customers
- Communicating food order politely
- Identifying correct coins/notes/use debit card
- Calculating correct change
- Waiting at the lights
- Looking for vehicles before crossing
- Staying alert for cyclists
Visiting the Library
- Signing in and out
- Locating a library book
- Checking out a library book
- Returning a library book
We hope that you can use these ideas on your adventures into the community with your child. Remember to use a lot of positive encouragement on your outing to boost self-confidence and reinforce good behaviours. Developing new skills to use in the community can go a long way in increasing your child’s sense of belonging and identity.
Keep an eye out for future OT Urban Challenge adventures on our events page.
Good luck, and have fun!