Can You Tell Me When The Next Bus Is Due 5 Lies About Special Education Transportation, and How You Can Overcome the Lies and Get Your Child

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5 Lies About Special Education Transportation, and How You Can Overcome the Lies and Get Your Child

Are you a parent of a child with autism or a disability who receives special education? Does your child need transportation? Do you think that special education professionals are not telling the truth about what the federal special education act (IDEA 2004) says about transportation? This article explains 5 lies that parents are often told when it comes to transportation. Also, discuss how you can overcome these lies to help your child receive the necessary transportation support.

Myth 1: We can keep your child on the bus for as long as we want. Although IDEA 2004 does not address the length of bus rides, long bus rides can disrupt a child’s education (cause anxiety, misbehavior). The Office of Special Education (OSEP) stated in a letter to an anonymous public (1993) that busing may be discriminatory, and may lead to denial of FAPE. Why can a long bus ride be discriminatory? If children with disabilities are on the bus longer than children without disabilities, this may be considered discrimination.

Myth 2: No one says that we have to provide transport for your child, and we don’t. Transportation is considered a joint service and must be provided to the child, if he or she needs assistance in order to receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE).

Myth 3: The transportation administrator decides whether a child needs transportation and not the IEP team. In a document from OSEP titled Questions and Answers on Serving Children with Disabilities Eligible for Transportation OSEP said “The IEP team is responsible for determining whether transportation is necessary to help a child with a disability benefit from special education and other related services…” If your child needs transportation make sure it is listed in your child’s IEP as a co-curricular activity (if the child does not ride the school bus).

Myth 4: The government says that we can get your child to school 15 minutes late every day, and get them out 15 minutes later because of transportation issues. Ask the school to show you in writing any documents that show that they have the right to do what they want to do. In the example above you would ask “Please show me in writing when they say our State Department of Education is allowing tuition cuts due to transportation issues!”

In fact, the OSEP document above makes it clear that the school day for a child with a disability should not be longer or shorter than the school day for students in higher education. Since the child will receive less time to study this may also be a denial of FAPE.

Myth 5: If you want your child to participate in extracurricular activities then you have to provide transportation, we don’t have to. Basically IDEA 2004 states that a child with a disability has the right to access necessary transportation after school and outside activities. Make sure that outside activities are listed on your child’s IEP, and that they require transportation to participate in these activities.

How do you solve these lies?

1. Learn about the transportation requirements in IDEA 2004 (which is the federal special education law). I use the book Special Education Law 2nd edition by Peter and Pam Wright, which is excellent. This guide and other parenting resources can be found at: http://www.wrightslaw.com.

2. Call your country’s Parent Training and Information Center (PTIC) for help with transportation.

3. Bring all of the above information to the IEP meeting to help with your advocacy.

Good luck with your representation!

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