Although it seems obvious, one of the best ways to determine the training needs of your special-needs drivers and aides is to simply ask them. Rather than just posing the question, it’s more productive to have them fill out a one-page questionnaire that lists specific training topics.
Here are some sample topics to list on your questionnaire:
• Background and history of transporting children with special needs
• Characteristics of children with special needs and implications for their bus ride
• Legal aspects of transporting children with special needs
• Communication issues for drivers and aides of children with special needs
• Behavior management strategies for children with special needs
• Driver-aide teamwork
• Safe loading and securement of children using wheelchairs and adaptive equipment
• Preparing for emergencies
• Other (describe)
You might also want to solicit specific questions that they might have about transporting children with special needs. Leave two or three blank lines for their questions.
You’ll also want to include a deadline for completing and returning the survey. Note: Don’t put the deadline too far in advance (no more than a week). It’s better to encourage them to return the survey while it’s fresh in their minds.
Source: Pupil Transportation Safety Institute, “Transporting Children With Special Needs” training workbook. For more information, call (800) 836-2210 or visit www.ptsi.org.
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