Blueberry Academy

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Blueberry Academy at Melbourne Centre : Melbourne Centre, Escrick St, York, YO10 4AW

Blueberry Academy at Silver Street : 5 Silver St, York, YO1 8RY

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“Supporting people to progress into learning and employment”

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Accessibility & Communication

The Melbourne Centre

At the Melbourne Centre, our York learning hub, accessibility is of course a priority. We have a wheelchair ramp at the front of the centre to allow easy access into the single level building, which has a total of four wheelchair accessible exits (front, side, workshop, rear).

We have an accessible toilet which has an integrated ceiling hoist and changing bed, as well as two mobile hoists, and adjustable tables in the classrooms.

We have an accessible polytunnel with raised beds and potting benches, along with an accessible sensory garden at the back of the centre, which also provides a safe pacing space if required.

Our Quiet Room is available to all trainees should they need a break out space, and we can provide therapeutic tools such as lights, mirrors, music and sensory items to provide comfort and help sensory regulation.

Our qualified in-house Rebound Therapy team can provide a fully accessible Rebound service to all trainees, whatever their physical needs - provided there is no medical reason they should not use it.

We encourage trainees to bring their own physiotherapy equipment such as standers to further enhance the quality of their time with us, and to allow for their physio routine to be integrated into their individual Blueberry timetable. Although care must be provided by trainees' personal assistants, this can help us ensure an holistic approach throughout the trainees' day.

Total Communication

We try to adapt a total communication approach across all our provisions. This can include a combination of any of the following approaches, depending on the needs of an individual; verbal, visual (including Widgit symbols), Makaton, intensive interaction, touch cues and assistive technology.

Assistive Technology

We are continuously developing and looking at how assistive technology can enable our young people to gain further control over their own environment, make an active contribution to their daily routines, enhance communication and support employment. We strive to work closely with our local adult health team, young people, adult social care and families to ensure that technology chosen primarily matches the needs of the young people. It is essential that any technology used can be replicated and is affordable, looking ahead to adult life.

Current technology being used by trainees includes simple environmental controls allowing switch control to everyday appliances such as kitchen blenders and sensory lighting; accessible kitchen equipment such as a talking mircowave and scales; USB switches on our laptops to enable switch access; iPad apps supporting communication and literacy skills.

We also offer support with actively using individual communication devices from basic single message devices to communication apps on tablets.