The Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority (RTA) has teamed with Access Center for Independent Living in Dayton, Ohio, to provide RTA operators with training that puts them in the shoes of persons with disabilities.
Operators navigate in wheelchairs, “see” through vision impairing devices, handle items without the normal use of their hands, talk with mouths full of marshmallows and try to learn despite cognitive distractions.
“It gives you a better understanding of what others go through,” said RTA Operator Robin Reed about the program. “I have compassion for my passengers whether they have a disability or not, but it really gave me a chance to connect with them and to understand what they are going through.”
The eight-hour training session, which includes five hours spent moving through exercises designed to simulate what it is like to live as a person with a disability, also includes a debriefing session where drivers discuss their experiences and what they learned.