- Students with special needs often require extra care and assistance when traveling on school buses. Sharing key components of individualized education programs (IEPs) and behavior intervention plans (BIP) with bus drivers can help them transport students safely to school and back, District Administration reports.
- Sharing sensitive student information with the transportation department does not jeopardize students’ rights under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Drivers should know student triggers so precautions — such as noise-canceling headphones — can be taken.
- During IEP and BIP meetings, staff members should ask parents if there is anything the transportation department could do to help ensure the safety of the student while on the bus. The driver should be trained to respond appropriately in the case of unexpected events, such as a medical emergency.
Principals are often required to implement plans and strategies in the best interest of special needs students with little training.
Becoming familiar with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and facilitating special needs students' transition from one class to another is a start. Disciplining students with special needs requires building relationships with parents to get an understanding of what works best for each child.
At Boston’s Dr. William W. Henderson Inclusion School, parent partnerships help maximize student performance. Educators establish trust and collaborate with parents so that the students can get therapy inside the classroom. Strong communication with parents can also help these students transition into college or the workforce. Gradually exposing these students to future opportunities through internships or college courses can ease the shock of environmental changes and put them on the path to a fulfilling post-school life.
Keeping school staff who work with these students in the communication loop is also important. Everyone from the bus driver, to the recess paraprofessionals, the academic specialists and even the lunchroom monitors should know and understand what each child needs in order to thrive. Sticking to a consistent, coherent plan is an important part of the IEP process.