Individual Transportation Plans for Students with Disabilities

By Greg Thomson |  Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, December 19, 2018

Under the Transportation Standard of the AODA, school boards must create and implement individual transportation plans for students with disabilities.

An individual transportation plan is a written plan detailing how a student will travel from home to school and back again. Individual transportation plans make sure each child gets to and from school in the way that is best and most safe.

Individual Transportation Plans

Who is involved in the plan?

People or organizations involved in carrying out a student’s individual transportation plan include:

  • Students
  • Parents
  • School staff, such as learning support teachers
  • Bus drivers
  • School boards
  • Companies contracted to provide transportation to school boards

Firstly, parents and school staff work together to figure out what the best transport option for each student is before the start of the school year or in the middle of the year if the student’s needs change. Secondly, school boards hire companies to provide transportation for students. Thirdly, companies train drivers on how to transport riders with disabilities. Lastly, drivers are notified about what students’ abilities and needs are and ensure that they reach school or home safely.

Types of Transportation

Like public transit, transportation to and from school can take place on conventional or specialized transportation.

Integrated Transportation

Some students use integrated transportation and travel on a conventional school bus with their peers.

Specialized Transportation

In contrast, some students may use specialized transportation, depending on their abilities and needs. They travel in a smaller vehicle such as an accessible bus, van, or taxi. Some students travel alone while others travel with other students who have disabilities.

Identifying Students’ Needs and How to Meet Them

Before the start of each school year, or during the year if students’ needs change, the school board should consult with parents to identify students who need individual transportation plans. Then, parents and school staff should identify what each student’s needs are and how these needs will be met. For instance, the written plan should describe:

  • How each student will board, be secure while driving, and deboard
  • What assistance students may need while boarding, securing themselves, or deboarding
  • Responsibilities of students, parents, drivers, school staff, school boards, and transportation companies

Just as an individual education plan (IEP) makes classroom learning accessible for students with disabilities, an individual transportation plan helps students get to school in accessible ways. Transportation is a vital part of students’ school experience that should be based on their abilities and needs. An individual transportation plan is a key part of ensuring students’ success in school.

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