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March 26, 2015

USciences students teach teens with intellectual disabilities to ride SEPTA

Transportation SEPTA
SEPTA Train Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

A SEPTA train.

Taking SEPTA can be a hassle, but is often an essential part of many Philadelphians' daily lives.

To make that reality easier for some local high school students with intellectual disabilities, occupational therapy students at the University of the Sciences have partnered with SEPTA to help teach them how to navigate Philly's transit system.

According to the University, students in the program spent 12 weeks with students attending Parkway West High School at 48th Street and Fairmount Avenue who have autism or another cognitive disability. The training includes how to purchase tokens and tickets and how to navigate routes and transfers. 

Julianne Soby, a doctoral student in the occupational therapy program, said their work has seen some success, according to a university press release:

“One of the high school students we worked with recently got a job, and he will be using public transit to get to and from work. That is exactly why we worked with these students — to help prepare them for their future and feel confident in their actions,” she said.

NBC Philadelphia profiled the program, which you can watch here: