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In-Service Safety Series
In-Service Safety Series
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I. Introduction

  1. Welcome to “Transporting Students with Special Needs”
  2. This module is a refresher training for drivers/attendants who regularly transport students with special needs
    1. It isn't detailed enough to train a new school bus driver/attendant of those students
  3. It is also awareness training for all transportation personnel
    1. Since the trend now is to integrate students with a variety of special needs with students on regular bus routes, you may need this information at some point
  4. In particular, this module focuses on students with special physical needs
    1. For example, a student who uses braces, a wheelchair, a walker, etc.
    2. Or a student who has recently had surgery
    3. Or a student who has difficulty sitting upright
  5. We will talk about what kinds of equipment you might encounter and how to transport students using that equipment
  6. Before we get into specifics, let's talk about working with students with special needs
  7. How you work with a student with special needs is different from how you work with other students
    1. The policies may be the same
      1. For example, there are standards for acceptable behavior that apply to all students
    2. But the abilities of students with special needs may be very different
    3. What things do you have to handle differently when you are working with students with special needs?

      [Conduct discussion.]
  8. In addition to being aware that you will need to handle many situations differently, there are certain things you should know about each of the students on your school bus
    1. You should know about the characteristics of the disability
      1. You need to know medical specifics relevant to transportation
      2. It may be a chronic disease, a congenital condition, a degenerative condition, or a temporary situation due to surgery/injury
      3. What matters is the impact on transportation
      4. What you do need to know is what impact that disability will have on your job of transporting the student
        1. In normal situations
          1. How does the student need to be transported
        2. In emergencies
          1. What can and can't the student do without help
    2. You should know what equipment they use
      1. You need to be able to handle that equipment properly and safely in accordance with manufacturers' guidelines
    3. You should know what transportation recommendations are included in the Individualized Education Program or IEP
  9. How many of you have heard of the Individualswith Disabilities Education Act is?

    [Get show of hands.]
  10. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or IDEA guarantees students with special needs a free and appropriate public education
    1. Special education must be designed to meet each student's unique educational needs
  11. Those unique special educational needs and how they will be addressed are described in the student's individual educational plan or IEP
    1. One of the things that the IEP covers is transportation
  12. The IEP process has 2 parts
    1. The IEP meeting
      1. At this meeting parents and school personnel jointly make decisions about a student's special educational needs
      2. The IEP team includes
        1. Teachers (1 regular and 1 special education, as appropriate)
        2. School administrator
        3. Appropriate related services personnel who work with the student
          1. Medical: school nurse, physical or occupational therapists, doctor
          2. Social service representative
          3. Transportation personnel
        4. Parents or caregivers
        5. The student, if appropriate
        6. Transition services personnel
    2. The IEP
      1. A written record of the decisions agreed upon at the IEP meeting
      2. The IEP defines the resources and services to be provided to the student, including when and how long they will be provided
      3. The IEP addresses transportation issues such as
        1. Type of transportation needed
        2. What equipment the student uses that must be transported
        3. Whether the student needs an attendant
        4. Transportation restrictions (for example, a maximum riding time)
    3. You can provide input to the IEP team about transportation issues
    4. Are there any questions about the IEP or what the school bus driver/attendant should know about each student?
  13. Finally, let's go over some general guidelines that will help the drivers of students with special needs
    1. Know about your students and what they need
    2. Know where important information is located
      1. The route
      2. Manufacturer's instructions for lifts and securement systems
      3. The seating plan
      4. Emergency information
      5. DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) orders
      6. Special medical information
      7. Emergency equipment (fire extinguishers, first aid kit, seat belt cutter, etc.)
    3. Exercise universal precautions
      1. At all times you should have
        1. A body fluid clean-up kit
        2. Latex gloves
        3. Non-latex gloves (for students with a latex allergy)
    4. Don't use a lift without another experienced driver or aide until you feel comfortable
    5. Only do what is within your technical expertise
      1. There are lots of other resources to assist you
    6. Don't rush; take your time
    7. When in doubt, ask
  14. It is important to remember that you are first the school bus driver/attendant
    1. You should know what your school district expects of you
    2. You are responsible for
      1. Safely driving the school bus
      2. A pre-trip inspection of the school bus
      3. Loading and unloading
        1. Safely handling and maneuvering the student and his or her equipment
        2. Loading wheelchairs using a lift
        3. Securing wheelchairs and other equipment
        4. Securing the student
      4. Maintaining the equipment on the school bus used to secure the student and his or her equipment
      5. A post-trip inspection of the school bus
      6. Communicating with parents/caregivers and teachers about situations that might affect the safe transportation of the student
  15. Review local policy and procedures about the role of the school bus driver/attendant
  16. Are there any questions before we move on to the types of equipment and behaviors you might encounter?

I - Distribute agenda

I.A - Display Slide #1

I.B - Display Slide #2

I.D - Display Slide #3

I.H - Display Slide #4

I.J - Distribute Handout #1,
The School Bus Driver/Attendant of the Student with Special Needs

I.L.2 - Display Slide #5

I.L.2.b - Refer participants to Handout #1


I. You may want to distribute the agenda as participants enter the training area. If your participants don't know each other or if they don't know the instructor, you may want to do introductions.

I.G.3. Ask the group the question. For your benefit, the desired response or correct answer is provided in italics. This format will be used throughout the module. List areas that you have to handle differently. Examples might be discipline, loading and unloading, emergencies, bad weather, communicating with caregivers.

I.J. Distribute Handout #1, The School Bus Driver/Attendant of the Student with Special Needs.

I.J. The IDEA can be found at 34 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) 300 and at website: www.

I.J. “Free and appropriate public education” is also known as FAPE.

I.L.1.b. Guidelines for when a school district should have transportation personnel in attendance at IEP meetings are included in Transporting Students with Disabilities developed by the Special Needs Committee of the National Association for Pupil Transportation(NAPT). To obtain Transporting Students with Disabilities call NAPT at 1-800-989-NAPT.

I.L.1.b.3.iii Depending on the policy and procedures in your school district, there may be a discussion here of whether or not transportation is or should be included in IEP meetings. If transportation is not represented, there may be frustration over the lack of communication and its effects.

I.L.2. Distribute copies of the IEP form used in your state. Point out what subjects are discussed at the IEP meeting, including “Related Services” such as transportation.

I.L.2.c. Refer participants to the section of the handout that is an excerpt of the 1995 National Standards for School Transportation. Tell participants that you won't cover the section in depth but information is there for participants to refer to when and if they need it.

I.L.3. Tell participants who they would talk to at the school to find out about a student's IEP.

I.L.4. For detailed questions, refer to the appropriate person at the school or school district.

I.M.3.a.3 Non-latex gloves are very important on school buses carrying students with allergies to latex. A high percentage of children with spina bifida have a potentially life-threatening allergy to latex. School bus drivers should use the non-latex gloves for any student for whom an allergy may be a problem.

I.M.7. Emphasize that “asking” is not a reflection of a school bus driver's incompetence. Rather it is an indication that the school driver wants to do the best that he/she can.

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