Transporting Children with Disabilities

45 CFR 1310.22 requires that each agency specify and comply with any special transportation requirements for a child with a disability when preparing the child's IEP or IFSP. Disabilities coordinators can use this as a resource for training staff and parents on what is required for transporting children with disabilities. Note: This resource is under review.

The following is an excerpt from Transportation PathFinder.

Standard Practice

45 CFR 1310.22 requires that each agency specify and comply with any special transportation requirements for a child with a disability when preparing the child's IEP or IFSP, including:

  1. special pick-up and drop-off requirements;
  2. special seating requirements;
  3. special equipment needs;
  4. any special assistance that may be required; and
  5. any special training for bus drivers and monitors.

It is recommended that qualified individuals from a Head Start's transportation program participate on the child's IEP or IFSP team to specifically address each of the areas listed above.

Special pick-up and drop-off requirements are essential to ensure that a child with a disability is adequately supervised at the approved location for transportation pick-up and drop-off. On a daily basis, a responsible adult must be available at a safe pick-up and drop-off location. Young children are not always aware of the dangers presented by the school bus or AAV, or other traffic around the designated stop. Parents must train their children never to chase a school bus or AAV, or go under a bus if anything is dropped. These are two primary causes of fatalities around the bus among preschool children. Parents and children should also be taught about the danger zones around a school bus or AAV where driver visibility can be limited.

Special seating requirements should be addressed for all children with disabilities because there may be a need for additional supervision during the ride to and from the Head Start program or the necessity for a special seating location. Qualified members of the IEP or IFSP team member should address this area. Requirements for special seating should be addressed before transportation services are initiated.

Special equipment needs should be addressed early in the IEP/IFSP process to avoid unnecessary delays in starting planned transportation services. All special equipment should be used in accordance with manufactures directions and specifications. Drivers and monitors should be trained on how to use special equipment. It is essential that all substitute personnel also be adequately trained in this area. The vendor chosen for special equipment can be an invaluable resource for training purposes.

Special assistance is often required for children with disabilities on a school bus or AAV. The parents and members of the IEP or IFSP team should specify exactly what kind of assistance will be required, and what kind of training is necessary to provide that assistance. Special assistance may be minor or significant. Do not underestimate the training or understanding of the situation prior to initiating service, as proper assistance can make the difference between a safe or unsafe ride. Utilize all available resources to assure that there is a clear understanding on the parts of all parties involved.

Special training for bus drivers and monitors must be a planned activity. In addition to training required for all bus drivers and monitors for non-disabled students, it is likely that children with disabilities will require additional specialized training. Personnel training is key to providing a safe and comfortable ride to and from Head Start.

Many children with disabilities require individualized services and supervision during their ride to and from their Head Start program. As with most issues regarding the transportation of children with disabilities, the IEP/IFSP is where information will be found regarding the training of bus drivers and bus monitors. Only qualified personnel knowledgeable about disabilities and transportation should be responsible for training bus drivers and monitors. It is highly recommended to identify qualified individuals early and maintain a list of resources available. Annual transportation conferences provide an excellent opportunity to receive training and important industry news.

"Transporting Children with Disabilities." Transportation PathFinder. HHS/ACF/ACYF/HSB. 2005. English.

Last Reviewed: November 2016

Last Updated: November 4, 2016