Environmental Safety

With the increase in carer hours providing an adult to travel within the community with an individual without family members being present and the quantity of funding available for some, the ability to actively explore more depth of the community brings with it new issues regarding accessibility and safety. During times of Covid there are a lot more challenges navigating other community members following rules or guidelines regarding social distancing and safety precautions. Students are often hyper-aware of safety precautions from their experience being around others with disabilities or specific health needs. Being able to ‘regulate’ your self when out in the community is more than just being able to move around freely or in having obstacles removed such as carer passes so that carers can attend for free. Where are the toilets located? Is this accessible in the way that a carer, who may or may not be well known to the individual, is required to be in the toilet room with them? Is there enough physical space so that someone can be supervised with privacy maintained. How long does toileting take? For some individuals, the half hour that it takes to sit on the toilet represents a safety issue with the public and with carers when they are using public facilities that can then be required for use by others, which can interrupt their need to sit on the toilet for longer periods. When out in the community with a carer, how much is the physical workload? And what cost does that take out of the carers body? Can the carer cope with being dragged around to see favourite things for hours on end or does the carer find that challenging so attempts to negotiate a different type of community outing or different sequence of activities so that ‘they’ can cope with the demands of their job for that day. Environmental safety is what do I have within quick reach. Do I have the things that I need? Have I prepared it all in advance? and. Do I have comfort that all the safety needs have been met or is the environmental exploration need so high because the individual is in control and is able to make choices about the things that they can do with their time. They can learn and absorb and do so freely. Personal goals versus goals that relate to safety and personnel management of an individual can conflict greatly resulting in safety issues when out in the community. This can be significantly amplified when individuals struggle with schooling or other programs where they have difficulty coping with the demands being placed on them. The need to explore and make constant choices that can seem haphazard can be out of a need to ‘fill’ themselves up with good stuff (all of the technical small details of their personal interests).