Special Needs Ability Awareness

Special Needs Ability Awareness - Transportation Challenges

  • The attitude of the bus driver will have a significant impact on the provision of transportation service. The driver must be sensitive and knowledgeable and demonstrate compassion to every passenger in a positive manner. Disability is not synonymous with illness and the driver must understand that each student is unique.

    Student integration and participation is an integral part of the system. Transportation service is scheduled by the local consortium to meet the need of the student and may include a large, mini, wheelchair accessible bus or minivan. Some students may have an issue(s) such as limited balance, vision or lack muscle control and will rely on a smooth ride to and from school. Students may have a condition that impacts their ability to demonstrate self control or manage certain behaviours.

    Students may attend a program in a self contained classroom or be fully integrated into the school setting. Class programs may include Behaviour, Gifted, Learning Disabilities, Life Skills, Language, Communication, Intellectual, Physical or Multiple. Students in these program may:

    - Be aggressive, loud and argumentative.

    - Be withdrawn or active.

    - Have a physical limitation(s) that impact movement or motor skills.

    - Have limited or no vision or hearing.

    - Be unable to communicate or communicate differently.

    - Exhibit repetitive behaviours.

    - Demonstrate anxiety or is unable to interact with others.

    - Be slow to adapt to change or follow direction.

    - Have multiple exceptionalities.

    - Have a medical plan that identifies a condition(s) eg. epilepsy, asthma.

    A student with a learning disability may appear the same as other students, yet is unlike the others due to a disability. The driver must accommodate the ability of every student and request assistance from dispatch when needed. Never leave a student unattended. The driver should:

    a) Set clear rules and apply each in a fair manner.

    b) Demonstrate patient and consistent interaction with the students.

    c) Read the student travel and/or medical plan.

    d) Request assistance from dispatch.

    e) Use the student conduct report to communicate.

    The driver should never hesitate to ask for help from dispatch. Be resourceful and understand that student behaviour does not change overnight. A consistent approach will be helpful. Keep rules simple and easy to understand. It may be necessary to repeat the rule(s). Get to know your students in a professional and respectful manner. Body language and facial expressions can be helpful when transporting students with exceptionalities. Understand what is normal behaviour/expression for that passenger and it will become easier to identify a potential situation.

    ASK for help. Staff are here to assist you. We will reach out to the local transportation consortium, school or family on your behalf.

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