Transporting Students with Special Needs

This module focuses on the transportation of the student with special needs and the equipment that these students may require. It is intended as an in-service refresher training for drivers and transportation personnel of students with special needs. Program directors and transportation coordinators can incorporate this online module as part of the program's staff training.

The following is an excerpt from School Bus Driver In-Service Safety Series.

OVERVIEW

Total time for this module: 5 hours 15 minutes without practice sessions

Module Overview

School buses transport the nation's most important resource, its youth. Parents and caregivers are asked every day to entrust their children to school bus operators. While the safety record of school buses is remarkable, there is no such thing as safe enough for a caregiver. This module focuses on the transportation of the student with special needs and the equipment that these students may require.

NOTE: This module is intended as an in-service refresher training for drivers and transportation personnel of students with special needs. In addition, the current trend is to integrate students with a variety of special needs with students on a regular bus route. This module can be used as awareness training for all school bus drivers and transportation personnel who may at some point be required to transport students with special needs. This module is NOT sufficient for the comprehensive initial training required for drivers and transportation personnel of students with special needs.

Main Topics

 

Topic

Estimated Time

 


Introduction

35 minutes

 

 

Types of Disabilities and Behaviors

25 minutes

 

 

Team Communication Issues

40 minutes

 

 

Specialized Equipment

50 minutes

 

 

Loading and Unloading

1 hour 45 minutes

 

 

Emergency Situations

1 hour

 

Learning Objectives

The learning objectives are presented by sub-topic. At the completion of this module, participants will be able to:

I.  Introduction

  • Describe what the school bus driver/attendant of students with special needs is expected to do and what is outside his/her responsibility.

  • State what the school bus driver/attendant of students with special needs should know about each student he/she transports.

II.  Types of Disabilities and Behaviors

  • State the kinds of disabilities a student with special needs might have.

  • State the types of behavior a student with special needs might display.

III.  Team Communications

State who is part of the team working for the student with special needs.

  • Describe how and what to communicate to:

  • Other helpers (monitors, aides, occupational/physical therapists)

    • Supervisor

    • Parent or caregiver

    • Student

    • Explain what to do in unexpected situations

IV.  Specialized Equipment

  • List the types of equipment a student with special needs might require during transport.

  • State proper guidelines for storing equipment.

  • Explain how to handle guide dogs.

  • Discuss how to handle equipment in adverse weather conditions.

V.  Loading and Unloading

  • Describe the proper loading and unloading process, including what to do and who should do it.

  • Describe how to correctly operate the wheelchair lift.

  • Describe how to correctly secure both wheelchair and student in the school bus.

  • State the necessary elements of a seating plan.

VI.  Emergency Situations

  • State the types of emergencies the school bus driver/attendant can expect.

  • List the elements of an emergency evacuation plan.

  • Describe the process for handling an emergency.

Materials Needed

Overhead projector and screen
Overhead transparency slides

Handouts: Agenda
The School Bus Driver/Attendant of the Student with Special Needs Handout #1
Disabilities, Behaviors, and the School Bus Driver Handout #2
Team Communications Handout #3
Wheelchair Standard Handout #4
Equipment and Assistive Devices in a School Bus Handout #5
Loading and Unloading Handout #6
The Wheelchair Lift Handout #7
Emergency Situations Handout #8
Local policies and procedures {use your local policies}
IEP Form {use your local IEP form}

Format and Length

This module in its entirety is about 5 hours 15 minutes in length without practice sessions. However, the content lends itself to using the module in three shorter offerings.

  1. Introduction (35 minutes)

    Types of Disabilities and Behaviors (25)

    Team Communication Issues (40)

  2. Specialized Equipment (50 minutes)

    Emergency Situations (1 hour)

  3. Loading and Unloading (1 hour 45 minutes)

Teaching Tips

  1. Section 5, Loading and Unloading, can be covered through demonstration. The information provided in this instructor guide is the information that should be discussed during the demonstration.

  2. Part of section 6, Emergency Situations, can be covered by demonstration. This would include the one-person lift, the two-person lift, and the blanket drag. The information provided in this instructor guide is the information that should be discussed during the demonstration.

"Transporting Students with Special Needs." School Bus Driver In-Service Safety Series. NHTSA. U. S. Department of Transportation. n.d. English.

Last Reviewed: November 2008

Last Updated: August 10, 2015