Special Education


Developing Recommendations For Special Transportation

It is the responsibility of the Committee to determine whether the student’s disability prevents the student from using the same transportation provided to nondisabled students, or getting to school in the same manner as nondisabled students.  The IEP must include specific transportation recommendations to address each of the student’s needs, as appropriate, (such as special or adapted buses, lifts and ramps), based on his or her unique needs related to the student’s disability to travel:

  • to and from school (including such school-related programs as work programs and settings other than the school where the student receives education or special education services); and, as appropriate,
  • in and around the school.

In developing recommendations for special transportation, the Committee should consider and document the needs of the student relating to his/her disability.  For example:

  • Mobility – e.g., nonambulatory wheelchair bound.
  • Behavior – e.g., fearful in noisy environments; self-abusive; runs away; cries frequently.
  • Communication – e.g., hard of hearing; nonverbal; limited understanding of questions and directions; non-English speaking.
  • Physical – e.g., needs assistive devices to maintain a sitting position; needs assistance walking and going up and down stairs.
  • Health needs – e.g., has seizures; fatigue – may fall asleep on bus, requires oxygen equipment; use of an inhaler.

It is not appropriate for the IEP to simply indicate, “special transportation needed,” without including the nature of the special transportation.  It is not necessary to include special transportation goals in the student’s IEP except when instruction will be provided to enable the student to increase his or her independence or improve his or her behavior or socialization during travel.

In determining and documenting a student’s special transportation needs, the Committee should consider the following:

  • Special seating.  Does the student require special seating on the bus such as seating away from the window, seating not adjacent to another student, seating in the front of the bus, etc.?
  • Vehicle and/or equipment needs. Does the student use or require special equipment such as braces, car seat, walker, lap belt, wheelchair, stroller, assistive technology device, medical equipment, adapted buses, or lifts and ramps, etc.?
  • Adult Supervision. Does the student require additional supervision during transportation such as a one-on-one bus attendant for a designated purpose, nursing services, special monitoring, or interpreter, etc.?
  • Type of transportation. Does the student require accommodations such as door-to-door pick up and drop off, a small bus with few students, or individual transportation?
  • Other Accommodations. Does the student require other accommodations such as permission to carry personal items or to use personal electronic devices such as radios?

In addition to any special transportation needs resulting from the student’s disability, some students may be recommended to receive special education programs/services at a site which requires transportation to/from that site in order for the student to receive his/her special education program/services.  The IEP must indicate the need for such transportation to a site to receive services.

In developing its recommendation for a preschool student with a disability, the CPSE must identify transportation options for the student and encourage parents to transport their child at public expense where cost-effective.

Additional information on special transportation may be found at

Also see U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) question and answer document on the subject of Transportation found at http://idea.ed.gov/explore/view/p/%2Croot%2Cdynamic%2CQaCorner%2C12%2C

Last Updated: December 10, 2010