Yarra Ranges Special Developmental School is a school for students with intellectual, multiple and sensory disabilities including autism spectrum disorder.
Like any other school, Yarra Ranges wants to provide students with a broad range of educational and social activities including excursions that stretch student’s horizons and fosters friendships and acceptance within their local community and beyond.
Safe, reliable and viable transport options for large groups of students proved a barrier and Yarra Ranges called on the community to help out.
In 2015 Gandel Foundation, the JT Reid Trust and Bendigo Bank responded to the call providing much needed funds to purchase a 22 seater bus.
“When the new bus was delivered, you may have felt the ground shake with all the jumping up and down the students were doing! So excited,” said Teresa Burdeu, Business Manager, Yarra Ranges Special Development School
Although they have only had the new bus for a few months, it has already been a very busy bus.
Middle School students and their carers headed north to the Ballarat area for a five day camp, stopping off at Kryal Castle for the first time on the return journey!
The bus has also been used by the Senior Students for a five day trip to Blackwood camp and for many Special Schools Sporting events across Victoria.
The overriding outcome for Yarra Ranges Special Developmental School has been the ability to travel in greater numbers on board one vehicle.
“It has been wonderful to see a large number of our students get on the bus with their teachers and carers and head off across Victoria. Previously, this would have required two buses and an additional car. The students have just loved this experience of travelling together as a bigger group.”
An unexpected outcome is the plan to use the bus for the Siblings Club in 2016.
“This little club is limited to the siblings of our students. These children can often feel aggrieved about the amount of attention given to their less able brother or sister and this in turn can lead to feelings of anger or resentment. We counter this by inviting siblings to meet at the school on certain Friday evenings for pizza, outdoor games and socialisation with children in similar situations. This has been an extraordinary success, and we are planning some short trips with the Club to local cinema in our big bus. Again, this would not have been possible previously.”