Social networking is something that most young people take for granted, but for young people with profound learning disabilities and complex needs it is almost impossible to access.
To respond to the gap in this area, Us in a Bus piloted a unique project called ‘The Bus Stop’ in 2012 using local funding available to them. Further sponsorship secured in 2013 and 2014 meant it has been able to continue up until now and has been able to benefit young people in the Redhill area. And thanks to the invaluable fundraising support from our friends at Vines BMW, we can now extend The Bus Stop until Christmas this year.
Currently five young people attend The Bus Stop in Redhill, along with three Interaction Practitioners. These are weekly sessions and they always start with the familiar Us in a Bus ‘hello’ song, which helps to set the scene and signify the beginning of the session.
We use Intensive Interaction as our main way of engaging with this group of young people and for most of them it’s the only opportunity they get each week to go out and meet other people in a safe and tailored environment. It’s a way of being with people that puts the Service User firmly in control, where their language, in whatever form it takes, is valued and celebrated. Mirroring and using everyone’s vocalisations enthusiastically, and with purpose, in all exchanges supports and encourages their active involvement, increases their confidence and can motivate further interest and sociability. The Bus Stop sessions maximize this sociability and has so far seen some great connections.
As in all youth clubs, The Bus Stop has a range of fun activities, from playing and kicking large soft balls, singing and playing musical instruments, to using parachutes to create movement, colour and excitement. All too soon the 90 minute sessions are over and they always end with the Us in a Bus ‘goodbye’ song to signify the end of the session for the day.
"We are extremely grateful that Vines BMW of Redhill and Guildford support Us in a Bus as one of their adopted Charities of the Year. In September they held a Golf Day in Guildford and during September and December they are contributing an amount to Us in a Bus linked to every car sold in their BMW and MINI Centres. This support is helping us to maintain The Bus Stop to the end of this year, which is going to make a difference to the five young people who attend. And here are the words from one of the young people’s Mums who came along to observe a recent Bus Stop session:"
“Watching Christopher in control of the intensive interaction session was pure beauty on every level. The delighted empowering squeaks were felt by all. It was harmony in action as Christopher took turns to converse with a stamp of a foot, a flick of the fingers, a kick of the wall, a spin. His language!”