Learning the skills to behave and interact when out in the community is an integral part of the curriculum offered at Kilparrin. For students with sensory impairment and additional disabilities coping with the flood of additional sensory stimulation when out of the school environment can be overwhelming. Experiencing a range of environments, learning to manage the stimulation and developing effective skills to communicate with the teacher, peers and the wider community is vitally important and has a long lasting impact, often beyond school.
Classes regularly access the local public library, supermarkets and shopping centres on foot and integrate these visits into their programs. Students can buy ingredients for cooking, buy seeds for the school garden, visit the local library to read a book etc. Each environment is unique and requires a different set of skills and behaviours.
Kilparrin students also have the opportunity to attend a number of musical and dramatic performances throughout the school year. Apart from the enjoyment factor individuals practise the skills necessary to be part of an audience and the behaviours required in different venues.
The use of public transport is also given considerable importance at Kilparrin with students using the bus and train throughout the school year. Public transport with its noise, movement and the close proximity of other patrons provides a number of challenges for students with sensory impairment. Opportunities to use ticketing systems, talk to the driver and other passengers as well as managing the physical skills of boarding and alighting are invaluable and integrate into a range of areas across the curriculum.
Experience within a range of environments provides the opportunity to practise communication strategies in ‘real’ situations and environments. The use of voice, Auslan, gesture and augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices can all be practised in real life situations as part of the Community Access program.