Using Sydney’s most popular festival with therapy clients
Taking part in Sydney’s extremely popular Vivid festival might seem like a crazy thing to do with therapy clients. Believe it or not, it’s actually a great activity to use to target a range of multidisciplinary therapy goals.
In fact, I think it’s actually harder to think of a therapy goal you CAN’T target with an event like Vivid, as opposed to integrating a client’s goals into a Vivid excursion. There are so many goals you can target in the planning, execution and post-visit phases.
What’s more, your entire allied health therapy team and support workers can all get involved to help clients genuinely PARTICIPATE in the wider community and their local support network. And it’s just FUN!
Here are some therapy goals we’ve incorporated into Vivid excursions with our Rehab Connection clients:
Before your visit
- Planning: Internet searches, choosing locations, choosing how many locations to attempt to see, planning how to get there and how to get home
- Reading comprehension: Comparing reviews, researching the VIVID website for event details
- Problem solving and reasoning: How long do I usually last before I get tired? What will I do if I can’t get the ferry home?
- Being specific
During your visit
- Community access: Navigating road crossings, transport training, crowd safety
- Mobilising longer distances
- Managing distractions and the impact on all other goals
- Managing fatigue
- Multidisciplinary cross-over: It’s easy to facilitate different goals in a truly integrated way, helping the individual to generalise skills.
After your visit
- Empowering individuals: Would you recommend this to others? What was the best? Would you do anything differently?
What we love about community festivals is that many of the factors that often prevent our clients from getting out and about vanish for a while.
- Cost constraints: Vivid has lots of free light installations you can visit. In fact, if you are organised, you can go to a couple of different locations, on a couple of different evenings.
- Access: Vivid promotes itself as an accessible event. There are wheelchair accessible sites to visit in Darling Harbour, as well as some sensory specific sites. Check out the Vivid website for details.
- The NSW Companion Card is recognised at three pay-to-attend events this year.
- Fatigue management: Vivid is largely a free event so you can easily wander around, see what you like and then leave when everyone has enough.
- Transport: One of the best aspects of Vivid is the good public transport options. This means clients can use a regular Opal card. One of the best ways to see the festival is to catch a well-timed ferry along the Parramatta River to Circular Quay. You’ll pass Barangaroo, Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Opera House and the MCA and be able to see all the other unofficial light bonanzas on offer from a harbour vantage point. Doing this also has the added bonus of reducing the amount of walking/mobilising and avoiding crowds, while providing an opportunity to see plenty.
- Timeliness. You can plan the outing and execute it within a week. This helps clients with memory impairments stay connected to their role organising and attending Vivid.
Here are a couple of extra top tips to help your clients get the most out of Vivid:
- Go early. Arrive for the lights turning on at 6pm. It gets crowded between 7-9:30pm. It is also lovely to watch all the buildings fade into black and the lights become dominant.
- Go towards the beginning of the festival. Closer to end date, everyone is cramming into the final few days and crowds can be overwhelming. Sometimes installations are broken from use by this stage of the festival too.
- Go on a Monday or a Tuesday. Vivid gets busier later in the week and on the weekend.
- Pack warm clothes. For wheelchair clients, consider a blanket. It can be cold and you want to be warm enough to enjoy it. Don’t go overboard though because you’ll have to carry it all. Remember, it’s Sydney, not Thredbo!
- Pack some food. If you have a few nibbles at the ready, you’re not forced to purchase overpriced food, queue for snacks or function hungry.
- Have a back-up exit plan: Consider a starting location and route where you can swap transport options for a quick exit, e.g. ferry in/ train out. Waiting in crowds to access public transport can spoil a good night out.
Finally, remember your job is to help your clients to be active participants in a great event. Vivid is a great opportunity for them to be active planners, active in engagement, and active in the discussions after the event. As their therapist, use Vivid (or other community events) as a reason to empower your clients to be part of the community, and have some fun. A chance to have some fun can be just as important for the person as all the rehab in the world.