This article will discuss what IDEA requires as far as transportation for your child with a disability. Also discussed are parenting tips that you can use, to help your child receive this important service.
Under IDEA transportation is considered a related service.
A related service is transportation, developmental, corrective, and other services. . .as may be required to assist a child with a disability to benefit from special education. . .
What this means is that if your child requires transportation in order to benefit from their education, special education personnel are required to provide it.
1. When advocating for your child, remember that; transportation not only means to and from school, but also in and around the school building, and any specialized equipment required by your child.
2. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act prevents discrimination on the basis of disability. The law reads: No qualified student shall on the basis of handicap, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination under any . . .transportation. . .or activity.
For Example: Your child with a physical disability is not allowed to go on a field trip, because the class cannot get the wheelchair bus. This would be a section 504 complaint, because your child is being discriminated against, on the basis of their disability. I have dealt with this situation, and the school district usually quickly fixes the transportation problem, if you tell them that you may file a Section 504 complaint. Section 504 is covered by the Office of Civil Rights in Washington, though each state has at least one office.
3. If your child requires an assistant in the classroom then you may be able to get a bus assistant, if your child's disability requires it. The goal of transportation as a related service is to provide safe access to education. So if your child needs a bus assistant in order to get safely to school, school personnel are required to provide it.
4. If your school district is not providing needed transportation for your child, you can be reimbursed, for providing the transportation yourself. Make sure that your child's IEP, states that they need transportation as a related service, and that you will be reimbursed.
A district may also be required to reimburse parents where:
A. Transportation is needed to provide FAPE and the district fails to meet its obligation.
B. The district doesn't recognize the need for transportation.
C. The district makes inadequate provisions for transportation.
5. If your child's extracurricular activity is related to their IEP goals and objectives, then transportation must be given. For Example: If your child has autism and needs to work on social skills, they can gain that from extra curricular activities. In that case transportation needs to be given by your school district.
6. School districts are not allowed to shorten your child's school day due to transportation. Unfortunately it happens all the time, and you may have to stand up to special education personnel for the good of your child.
IDEA gives children with disabilities equal educational opportunity, which means a full school day. I have often said that if parents of children without disabilities found out there child was to leave school early for transportation, they would be outraged. But parents of special needs children are supposed to accept it. Do not accept it, stand up for your child.
Reference: JoAnn Collins is the mother of two adults with disabilities, and has helped families navigate the special education system, as an advocate, for over 15 years. She is a presenter and author of the book "Disability Deception; Lies Disability Educators Tell and How Parents Can Beat Them at Their Own Game." The book has a lot of resources and information to help parents fight for an appropriate education for their child. For a free E newsletter entitled "The Special Education Spotlight" send an E mail to: JoAnn@disabilitydeception.com For more information on the book, testimonials about the book, and a link to more articles go to: www.disabilitydeception.com