Special Needs Transportation

Feds give guidance on special-needs transportation

Posted on December 7, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) has issued a new Q&A document intended to clarify regulations on transporting students with disabilities.

Among the topics covered in the Q&A are communication, mainstreaming on regular routes and climate control on buses.

The document addresses regulations for Part B of the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act that became effective in October 2006 and December 2008.

The DOE’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) said it has received requests for clarification of some of these regulations. The transportation Q&A is one in a series of documents that “address some of the most important issues raised by requests for clarification on a variety of high-interest topics,” according to OSERS.

In a question about strategies that can be used to provide transportation service, OSERS recommends that school districts explore options for integrating children with disabilities with nondisabled students (a practice also known as mainstreaming), “especially when the children with disabilities are in the same location and have the same schedule as children without disabilities.”

OSERS notes that this option may require the use of a lift-equipped vehicle for the regular routes or the addition of a monitor or aide.

One question asks when the IDEA requires climate-controlled transportation for children with disabilities. OSERS answers that climate-controlled transportation is not explicitly required under the IDEA, but “if an IEP team determines that a child needs climate-controlled transportation to receive special education services, related services, or both, and the child’s IEP specifies that such transportation is necessary, the LEA must provide this special transportation at no cost to the parents.”

OSERS also notes that transporting nondisabled children in climate-controlled buses while children with disabilities are transported in separate buses that are not climate-controlled might raise issues of disability discrimination under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

To view the full transportation Q&A, click here.

Related Topics: aide/monitor, IEP, mainstreaming, wheelchair lifts, wheelchairs

Comments ( 1 )
  •  | about 8 years ago

    DOE has confirmed in their latest questions and answers regarding special needs transportation several important points which we have believed to be true and with which we now have the official support. I have recently completed a text entitled "The Least Restrictive Transportation Environment Continuum: What Every IEP Committee Should Know" that further supports and assists IEP Committees in the guidance provided by the USDOE. There are many parents of students with disabilities who will be greatly relieved to understand the DOE guidance and how it affects their child's special needs transportation.

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