Nicholas uses Skytrain, buses to get to school
Deb Bartlett

Learning to travel independently to school and back will open more educational doors for Nicholas.

Working with posAbilities life skills worker Jadwiga Dobrowolski, Nicholas has learned to take public transit to his classes at the Down Syndrome Research Foundation, and his new job at Shoppers Drug Mart.

Jadwiga says Nicholas had always been driven by his parents or used the door-to-door HandyDART service.

Nicholas is able to get to school and to his job at Shoppers Drug Mart independently. Being able to use public transit means more educational doors are open for him.

But without knowing how to travel independently, some doors would be closed to him.

Other schools would not accept him if he couldn’t travel on his own.

“My job was to teach him to take public transportation from home to school,” says Jadwiga.

She calls Nicholas’ knowledge of public transit a big success story.

“Nicholas does it so quickly. He knows which direction he needs to go to school, and which side of the Skytrain to take to go back. No problem at all,” says Jadwiga.

Nicholas had two options for getting to his school. He could have taken two buses and the Skytrain, or only two buses but with a longer walk with two intersections to cross.

There was some concern that Nicholas would get confused at the intersections, so he and his family chose the route the uses the Skytrain.

He lives a 15 minute walk from the Skytrain station, and Nicholas is encouraged to walk to the station, “which was very good, because the exercise is good for him,” says Jadwiga.

Nicholas’ biggest challenge was remembering to ring the bell on the bus to get off the bus at the right stop – he rang it too late. However, through trial and error, he eventually learned, says Jadwiga.

She taught him to watch for a particular street after the second last top, and to ring the bell when he saw that street.

He has recently gotten a part-time job at Shoppers Drug Mart, and Jadwiga is teaching him to travel to work and back.

She’s worked with him for two weeks, and says, “I can tell that he’s ready to travel on his own.

“I’m so happy for him. His family is very happy and this is a big success,” says Jadwiga.

To comment on this story, or to share a success story from your program, contact Deb at 800-294-0051, ext. 30, or e-mail deb(at)