Planning a community trip with a class with multiple disabilities can be challenging, but it can also be a rewarding experience for you and your students. Here are some steps you can take to plan a successful field trip as you consider how to plan a community field trip in a multi-disability classroom.
Choose a suitable location
Consider seat availability for your students with disabilities. Make sure it is safe and can meet the needs of all students. For example, if you have students in wheelchairs, make sure the venue has ramps, elevators, and accessible bathrooms. Two weeks ago I took the students with their class to our local science museum. I called and asked if they had an accessible bathroom and wheelchair supports before the trip was complete.
Plan your logistics
Consider transportation, surveillance and communication needs. Make sure you have enough staff to accompany students and that you have a plan to communicate with each other in the event of an emergency. We may need a lift bus or to store equipment such as a walker on the bus. It is important to ensure that it has enough space. You can also make sure that the student communication device is programmed with the necessary topics for the trip.
Prepare your students
Talk to your students about the trip and what to expect. Provide visual and social stories to help them understand the schedule and venue rules. Make sure they have appropriate clothing and equipment for the trip. I use Lessonpix to create social stories. However, I also use some of the stories that are part of the First Ten Days set. Stories that emphasize the bus ride and procedures are a great refresher before the journeys. Whitney writes about it here.
Plan your trip
Choose a date and time that works for all students and staff involved. Consider the weather and any conflicts that may arise. Make a plan if the trip has to be canceled due to weather.
Prepare for emergencies
Have a plan in case of an emergency, such as a medical emergency or a student who wanders off. Make sure all employees are aware of the plan and know their roles. I have a big red emergency binder. I take it with me everywhere. It has all student information and health plans.
Enjoy the trip with your students and celebrate their achievements. Take pictures and share them with parents and carers.
Remember, the most important thing is to ensure the safety and well-being of your students. With the right planning and preparation, you can create a positive and memorable experience for everyone involved. I hope this helps you consider ways you can start thinking about how to plan a community trip in a multi-disability classroom.