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In-Service Safety Series
TRANSPORTING STUDENTS
WITH SPECIAL NEEDS
In-Service Safety Series
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TEAM COMMUNICATIONS


WITH OTHER PROFESSIONALS IN THE SYSTEM

  1. Other professionals include the teacher, the school nurse/aide, and members of the IEP team.
  2. There should be a mechanism for easy communication with other professionals in the system. If there isn’t, make a point of passing on information and asking for information.
  3. Local policy and procedures:





WITH THE TRANSPORTATION SUPERVISOR
  1. Refer any questions outside your responsibility to your supervisor.
  2. Safety questions
    • “What should I do with the dog?”
    • “What should I do if the wheelchair tires are flat and the battery is run down?”
  3. Health questions
    • “What should I do if the wheelchair is dirty?”
    • “How should I handle this type of equipment?”
  4. Difficult/unusual/inappropriate requests
    • From a parent: “My son had seizures last night. If he has one on the bus, please insert this suppository.”
    • From a teacher:
      1. “The handle on Johnny’s walker came off today. Could you please try to tape it until he gets home?”
      2. “We are going on a field trip and I don’t want to use a lift equipped bus. Please carry Sara on and off the bus and we will borrow a chair when we get to the field trip site.”
      3. “Please drop Adam off early because his mom called and I said it would be okay.”
  5. Local policy and procedures:





WITH PARENTS AND CAREGIVERS
  1. Remember that you are not alone in dealing with parents and caregivers.
  2. You are not obligated to do everything a parent or caregiver requests although some requests may make it easier to transport the student. Know which questions to refer to someone else such as the transportation supervisor or the IEP team.
  3. Be sensitive in dealing with parents and caregivers. Be firm but kind. Explain why something is done a certain way, e.g, for safety reasons. Remember that parents and caregivers are advocating for the student’s needs. However they aren’t in a position to tell you what your job is and how to do it.
  4. Remember too that it’s not your job to be a go-between with parents and teachers.
  5. Local policy and procedures:





WITH THE STUDENT WITH SPECIAL NEEDS
  1. Know and respect the cognitive capacity of student.
  2. At the level the student can understand, explain what you are going to do and why before you do it and explain again while you are doing it (if appropriate). It’s helpful to explain things in terms of safety reasons. For example, “you need to stay seated because if we stop fast or hit a bump you won’t be protected and you might get hurt.”
  3. Keep bus rules simple and repeat them often to help students understand. For example, bus rules should simply be:
    • Remain seated.
    • Don’t touch any bus parts such as lift controls.
    • If you have a lap belt, keep it on, low and snug.
    • Be cooperative.
  4. Reinforce bus rules by praising students who follow them.
  5. Remember: If a student can’t communicate with you, don’t assume that the student can’t understand you.
  6. Local policy and procedures:





HANDLING A SITUATION YOU AREN’T PREPARED FOR
  1. Call into dispatch and request advice from your supervisor. You don’t want to jeopardize the safety of the student or other students on the bus by transporting inappropriately. In addition, a delay in notifying dispatch may jeopardize student safety in a medical emergency.
  2. When you contact dispatch, remember to respect confidentiality. Radios and cell phones are not secure. Use discretion when talking over non-secure lines. Avoid using personal identifying informa- tion unless you have no other choice. Use a code system to identify the severity of the situation.
  3. Depending on the situation you may need to pull over at a safe place until the situation is resolved and it is safe to continue. The exception might be an emergency situation where the decision is made to continue. In some remote locations, it may be best to drive the school bus to the help site or to a meeting point with emergency personnel.
  4. Local policy and procedures:





FOR HELP WITH RECURRING MEDICAL PROBLEMS
  1. Request assistance from the IEP team and keep your supervisor informed. Document each occurrence. Seek help from other transportation team members.
  2. VERY IMPORTANT: DO NOT tell other drivers or non-drivers about the situation. Respect the confidentiality of the students you transport.
  3. Local policy and procedures:






HANDOUT #3
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