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In-Service Safety Series
In-Service Safety Series
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II. Types of Disabilities and Behaviors

  1. We have said that you need to know enough about a student's disability to know what impact it will have on transporting the student
  2. In this section we are going to talk about
    1. The kinds of disabilities a student with special needs might have
    2. The types of behaviors a student with special needs might display
  3. Most of the students you transport have physical disabilities and require specialized equipment
    1. Later we will talk about how to safely transport the student and his or her equipment
  4. Right now, let's focus on some of the other things we have to take into consideration when we are transporting students with special needs
  5. In addition to their physical limitations, for some students there may also be communication barriers
    1. Some students may have cognitive limitations that affect their ability to understand your directions
      1. They don't know what you mean because they have a problem understanding language
    2. Some students may have disabilities that affect your ability to communicate with them and their ability to communicate with you
    3. What are some examples of disabilities that might affect communication?
      • Impaired hearing
      • Impaired sight
      • Autism
      • Speech or language impairment
      • Mental retardation
      • Learning disabilities
      • Traumatic brain injury
  6. In addition to their physical limitations and their communication difficulties, some students have unusual or unpredictable behaviors that may startle you if you aren't prepared for them
    1. What we are talking about are behaviors that the student is unable to control
    2. Here are some examples
      1. Rocking
      2. Unpleasant language or repetitive phrases
      3. Yelling or calling out or significant swallowing difficulty
      4. Drooling
      5. Difficulty sitting upright
      6. Abnormal breathing patterns
      7. Startle response to loud noises or fast movement, etc., e.g., to lift operation
      8. Asthma
      9. Seizures
    3. Are there other behaviors that you have encountered?

      [Conduct discussion.]
  7. Knowing the unique characteristics of the students you transport will help you to react correctly
    1. Like individuals, disabilities vary greatly
    2. Remember that students are people first and then they are people with disabilities
    3. Your communication with any student with special needs depends on that student's abilities
      1. Don't let the focus be the student's condition
      2. Treat each student as an individual
    4. Remember that you treat the student with special needs the same way that you treat any other student of that age
      1. Be respectful; don't talk down to the student
      2. Be positive and encouraging
      3. Allow as much independence as you can safely afford
      4. Learn the language of the students on your school bus, both verbal and non-verbal
      5. Don't talk about the student as if he or she isn't there
    5. Remember that you are part of a team that cares about that student
    6. Learn about the student's abilities by
      1. Talking with parents/caregivers, teachers, and therapists
      2. Observing the student yourself
  8. Review local policies and procedures about the appropriate responses of school bus drivers
  9. Are there any questions about the types of equipment students with special needs might have or the kinds of behaviors they might display?

II.B - Display Slide #6

II.F.1 - Display Slide #7

II.F.2.e - Display Slide #8

II.G.4 - Display Slide #9

II.I - Distribute Handout #2, Disabilities, Behaviors, and the School Bus Driver


II.E.3. Record responses on a flip chart.

II.I. Refer participants to Handout #2. Tell participants that this is a description of 13 types of disabilities and appropriate responses from the school bus driver and attendant. Participants can use this section as a quick reference when they need to review what a particular student might need.

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