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Travel training program helps Sally adapt

adapt – verb \ə-ˈdapt, a-\: to change your behavior so that it is easier to live in a particular place or situation.

Sally Francklyn, 26, intimately understands adaptation. After a skiing accident in 2012 left her with a traumatic brain injury, her life changed. And now almost two years later, she continues to remodel herself – to work hard to relearn what she previously knew plus even more.

A recent move to Boulder to be close to college friends and to live independently, after a time of recovery with her family in Colorado Springs, meant that Sally needed to figure out how to get around. She doesn’t drive and walking can be a challenge because of issues with balance and paralysis on her right side.

A Google search lead her family to a Via mobility specialist, who after a brief conversation, registered Sally for the organization’s door-to-door, driver-assisted paratransit service and also referred her to a travel trainer to check out the possibility of using Boulder’s public transit system.

Mary Young, one of five travel trainers at Via, met with Sally and her mother to do a formal assessment. Having already scouted Sally’s bus route from her apartment to her internship at ski mountaineering company, Dynafit, Mary then did a run through of the trip with both of them, providing expert advice on adaptions specifically for Sally.

“She had good tips on how to make the bus work for me – like asking the driver to lower the steps to make it easier to get on,” Sally said.

Sally’s mom, Barb, appreciated the personal service. “It was comforting to have Mary physically there to do the trip with us and to make suggestions about improving Sally’s experience,” she said.

After the travel training, Sally realized that her current apartment was not conveniently located near a bus stop (or other essential services like a grocery store, coffee shop, gym, etc.). She has since relocated, and when her balance (and the weather!) improves she’ll able to take a single bus ride from her apartment to her internship. And she’ll be able to call on Via’s travel trainer, Mary, again, to help her scout the route and suggest adaptations.

In the meantime, Sally sometimes uses Via’s door-to-door transportation service to get to doctor’s appointments and work because she’s adaptable – and determined.

Read Sally’s brain injury blog and see a video about her story.