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Transportation Challenges for Urban Students With Disabilities: Parent Perspectives


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This qualitative study explored parent perspectives of the transportation difficulties students with disabilities experienced getting to and around school. Participants were parents of predominantly African American and Latino/a high school youth with disabilities from low income neighborhoods. Content analysis of 14 meetings with 5 to 12 parents sponsored by the school district revealed five primary themes concerning transportation: the role of aides, exclusion from school programming, scheduling problems, equipment problems, and physical safety issues. Findings are discussed in regard to students' social and emotional experiences at school. Implications for school policy include improving the integration of transportation within inclusion best practice models. Incorporating parent perspectives can help school administrators and staff enrich the quality of inclusive, socially just education for students with disabilities.
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Journal of Prevention & Intervention in
the Community
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Transportation Challenges for Urban
Students With Disabilities: Parent
Benjamin C. Graham a , Christopher B. Keys a , Susan D. McMahon a
& Michael R. Brubacher a
a Department of Psychology , DePaul University , Chicago , Illinois ,
Published online: 21 Jan 2014.
To cite this article: Benjamin C. Graham , Christopher B. Keys , Susan D. McMahon & Michael
R. Brubacher (2014) Transportation Challenges for Urban Students With Disabilities: Parent
Perspectives, Journal of Prevention & Intervention in the Community, 42:1, 45-57, DOI:
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Journal of Prevention & Intervention in the Community, 42:45–57, 2014
Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN: 1085-2352 print/1540-7330 online
DOI: 10.1080/10852352.2014.855058
Transportation Challenges for Urban Students
With Disabilities: Parent Perspectives
Department of Psychology, DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois, USA
This qualitative study explored parent perspectives of the transporta-
tion difficulties students with disabilities experienced getting to and
around school. Participants were parents of predominantly African
American and Latino/a high school youth with disabilities from low
income neighborhoods. Content analysis of 14 meetings with 5 to
12 parents sponsored by the school district revealed five primary
themes concerning transportation: the role of aides, exclusion from
school programming, scheduling problems, equipment problems,
and physical safety issues. Findings are discussed in regard to stu-
dents’ social and emotional experiences at school. Implications for
school policy include improving the integration of transportation
within inclusion best practice models. Incorporating parent per-
spectives can help school administrators and staff enrich the quality
of inclusive, socially just education for students with disabilities.
KEYWORDS African American, disability, Latino, low income,
parent perspectives, school inclusion, transportation, urban education
Inclusive education places students with disabilities in age appropriate gen-
eral education classrooms and provides a continuum of supports to meet
student needs (e.g., Brown et al., 2004). Although the Individuals with
Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA, 2004) mandates education
in the least restrictive environment for every school-age child with a disabil-
ity, it does not fully delineate how services should be delivered. The
At the time of this research, Benjamin C. Graham was affiliated with DePaul University in
Chicago, Illinois. Dr. Graham is currently affiliated with the National Center for PTSD,
Dissemination and Training Division, in Menlo Park, California.
Address correspondence to Benjamin C. Graham, National Center for PTSD, Dissemination
& Training Division, VA Palo Alto Health Care System, 795 Willow Road (334-NCPTSD), Menlo
Park, CA 94025, USA. E-mail:
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46 B. C. Graham etal.
placement of students with disabilities in general education classes varies
among states and districts (U.S. Department of Education, 2006). Each stu-
dent’s education team typically develops and implements the student’s inclu-
sive education program through an individual education plan (IEP).
Positive outcomes of inclusion for students with disabilities include
increased social skills, social interactions, and self-esteem, as well as improved
academic skills (Grove & Fisher, 1999). Not all students benefit from their
inclusive programs, and studies of the academic and social development of
students in inclusive programs often produce mixed results (Salend &
Duhaney, 1999). Publications often address inclusion conceptually and do
not study events occurring within the integrated environment (Bennett,
DeLuca, & Bruns, 1997). Advancing inclusion programs requires more infor-
mation on factors supporting and limiting the development and well-being
of students with disabilities.
Transportation, both within and outside of school, is a necessary component
of the educational system. Transportation needs are particularly salient for
students with disabilities, who are at an increased risk for injuries and fatali-
ties in the event of an accident compared to children without disabilities
(Falkmer & Gregersen, 2001). However, the transportation needs of students
with disabilities have received only limited attention in the research
For children with disabilities attending school, IDEIA (2004) integrates
travel to and from as well as in and around school as components of a least
restrictive educational environment. Brown et al. (2004) suggests that
access and mobility for students with disabilities should, to the fullest
extent possible, match that of students without disabilities. Thus, students
with disabilities need transportation that enables them to start and finish
the school day at the same times as students without disabilities, and have
access to the same classrooms and other within-school settings.
Unfortunately, these needs are not always met. Transportation problems for
students with disabilities have been found to be associated with higher
rates of school stressors, anxiety, depression and aggression, as well as
lower rates of school belonging and school resources (Graham, Keys, &
McMahon, this issue).
Given there are few studies with youth, qualitative studies with adults
shed light on the types of transportation problems people with disabilities
experience. Interviews of adults with disabilities revealed that deficits in
transportation and accessibility were significant obstacles to community inte-
gration and positive quality of life (Fresher-Samways, Roush, Choi, Desrosiers,
& Steel, 2003). Frustrations with transportation included the unavailability of
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Transportation Challenges 47
options, as well as the low reliability, timeliness and quality of services.
Specific difficulties included equipment failures, uncomfortable situations
that irritated their physical conditions, and inconsistent scheduling.
Furthermore, inadequate transportation to a destination and difficulty getting
around settings were reported to limit participation in social and employ-
ment activities. Similar to adults with disabilities, transportation issues may
be useful to consider in relation to inclusion for students with disabilities.
Parents are key stakeholders and advocates for the inclusive education of
children with disabilities. Historically, parents have been central to the pas-
sage of special education legislation (Turnbull & Turnbull, 1990). They are
critical resources in providing insights into their children’s disabilities, and
articulating the features of inclusive education for students with disabilities
(Grove & Fisher, 1999). The provision by federal legislation for parental
involvement in educational decisions (IDEIA, 2004) underscores the essen-
tial role parents play regarding inclusive programming for youth with
While results are mixed, parents generally report being supportive of
inclusion programs (Bennett etal., 1997), citing both academic and social
benefits (Duhaney & Salend, 2000; Grove & Fisher, 1999). While most par-
ents endorse inclusion policies in general, some have expressed concerns
regarding their own son or daughter’s inclusion. Furthermore, parents’ attitudes
toward inclusion can depend on the quality of the programs being imple-
mented (Lovitt & Cushing, 1999).
Parents commonly report concerns about the expertise and level of
care provided by support personnel, such as bus drivers, school staff, and
aides. Parents suggest these personnel may lack the support and training
regarding their role in responding to student needs and safety issues
(Duhaney & Salend, 2000; Falkmer & Gregersen, 2002). Safety concerns
include falls (Antle, Mills, Steele, Kalnins, & Rossen, 2007) and improper use
of seating devices during travel (Falkmer & Gregersen, 2002).
Parents report a desire for their children to take a wide range of classes
(Fisher, Pumpian, & Sax, 1998), which require appropriate access and trans-
portation within the school building. Lack of access within the school day
can create problems, such as when students with disabilities cannot enter the
lunchroom. Parents also voice concern about lack of equal access to extra-
curricular activities occurring outside of the school day and the subsequent
social benefits denied their children (Fisher, Pumpian, & Sax, 1998). As these
activities are available to students without disabilities, appropriate schedul-
ing and transportation for students with disabilities is necessary to provide
the least restrictive educational environment.
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48 B. C. Graham etal.
Despite the centrality of parent input for planning appropriate and least
restrictive educational environments, parents often experience barriers to
participation in their children’s education. Barriers related to income, trans-
portation, time conflicts, English proficiency, and other issues can contribute
to parents of students with disabilities feeling disenfranchised from the
schools (Lovitt & Cushing, 1999). This disenfranchisement is particularly true
for culturally and linguistically diverse, low-income families.
Notwithstanding the importance of parent participation (Xu & Filler,
2008), studies investigating parent perspectives on transportation for students
with disabilities have been limited, and transportation has historically been
considered only a peripheral component of inclusion. In the current study,
we sought parent input about how the transportation needs of their children
with disabilities were being met following a recent school closure and tran-
sition to new schools. Therefore, this qualitative study’s central research ques-
tion is: “What problems and concerns do parents of youths with disabilities
have regarding transportation following a school transition?” The infor-
mation gleaned from this study can assist with conceptualizing inclusion
more fully, building an empirical base for considering transportation and
inclusion, and providing comprehensive, inclusive services to students with
This study was part of a larger evaluation project conducted by a university
team in collaboration with a large urban public school district. Participants
were parents of students with a range of disabilities who had recently tran-
sitioned to their neighborhood or magnet school following the closing of
a school serving predominantly students with disabilities throughout the
district. In the district, 86% of students qualified for free or reduced cost school
Fourteen parent meetings were sponsored by the school district during
the transition process. An overarching goal of these meetings was to allow
parents to provide the district administration with feedback on how well
the schools and district were responding to the needs of students. Five to
12 parents attended each meeting, which were typically staffed by school
district leaders and attended by the evaluation team. Two of the 14 meetings
were initiated by the evaluation team, with the joint goals of identifying
student needs and providing advisory input to the evaluation and overall
project. Parents who attended the meetings were primarily those of stu-
dents with more severe disabilities. In most cases, these students traveled
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Transportation Challenges 49
to and from school on specialized school buses serving solely students
with disabilities.
Parent perspectives regarding transportation problems to/from school were
assessed via data from the parent meetings. The meetings lasted approxi-
mately 1.5–3 hours. Each meeting was documented by one of four methods:
(a) transcription; (b) detailed field notes/paragraph summaries including
minutes and thematic parent concerns; (c) field notes with itemized lists of
parent concerns; or (d) a combination of the three methods. For this study,
3 transcriptions, 3 sets of detailed field notes, and 16 sets of less detailed
field notes with itemized parent concerns were used for examining the 14
parent meetings (see Table 1). Thematic analyses were conducted to distill
major themes of problems with transportation, with each theme derived
from no fewer than three separate parent contributions. Where multiple
sources of data existed for a specific meeting, these data were checked
across each available data source. While the data presented here focuses on
identifying problems, it is important to underscore that the structure in which
TABLE 1 Summary of Qualitative Data Sources for Parent Meetings
Meeting # 1234567891011121314
Data source Data type
Observer #1 Verbatim transcriptions XX X
Observer #2 Detailed summary with
thematic analysis
Observer #3 Notes on meeting &
itemized parent
(incl. quotations)
Observer #4 Notes on meeting &
itemized parent
(incl. quotations)
Observer #5 Notes on meeting &
itemized parent
(incl. quotations)
Observer #6 Notes on meeting &
itemized parent
(incl. quotations)
Observer #7 Detailed summary
paragraphs of
Total data sources per meeting 13231231111111
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50 B. C. Graham etal.
the meetings occurred represented an active effort to solve problems and
ensure quality education for students with disabilities.
From the qualitative analysis of parent meetings, five main issues regarding
the nature of transportation difficulties for students with disabilities emerged:
(a) problems with aides, (b) exclusion from school programming, (c) sched-
uling problems, (d) equipment problems, and (e) physical safety. Whenever
possible, illustrative quotes of the thematic analysis are provided. In some
cases, parent concerns that did not include direct quotes are noted.
Problems With Aides
Aides are assigned to help students in some or all aspects of their school day,
including when indicated, accompanying them on the bus to/from school
and assisting them in moving around within school. Parents expressed sev-
eral transportation-related concerns regarding their child’s aide. First, some
parents stated the aides were not attending to their children as they helped
children get on the bus (“She [the aide] is on the cell phone out the door and
doesn’t sit next to my daughter.”). Also, the appropriateness of gender match
of the aide to student was questioned (“She needs to be checked to see if
she has had an accident how can a male attendant do this?”), as well as
the high incidence of aide turnover (“Her bus aide is changed again. No
notice my daughter bonds to these people!”). Some noted the aide was
not physically present to transport their students (“My baby was supposed to
have an aide on the bus. She doesn’t!”), and others noted that a single aide
was assigned to transport too many students at the same time (viz., the
parent reported the aide was moving five students at once).
Exclusion From School Programming
Parents were very concerned that transportation limitations effectively
excluded their children from regular school programs. A primary recurring
problem was exclusion from after-school programming due to the lack of
adequate bus transportation (e.g., “My daughter wants to be in pom-pom, but
they were told they have to be on the bus”; “I talked to Special Ed, and she
wished they could get our kids involved in after school activities, but they
can’t because of the bus schedule.”). Several parents also expressed concern
that their children could not go on bus trips because specialized buses were
not available. In addition, sometimes bus schedules affected classes, as one
parent noted her child was unable to take a music class that occurred in the
final period, after the specialized school bus left (“My daughter could get
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Transportation Challenges 51
music every other week. You [school staff] put music in the last period and
she has to leave on the bus before that!”). Notably, these reported scenarios
contradict Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) mandates (U.S. Department
of Education, 2006). Lastly, several parents expressed frustration that their
children were not allowed to have lunch off campus like their fellow students
because there was no appropriate transportation.
Scheduling Problems
Difficulties in scheduling were a common concern of parents. For transportation
to/from school, the problem involved both prolonged wait times (“[student]
does not have a 10th period but she is waiting for the bus [required to wait
the duration of the period for the bus]”) and inconsistent pick/up drop off
times (“One day they get home at 3:30 and the next 5:45”). Within school,
parent descriptions of scheduling problems included long passing period
times, including wait times for staff to arrive to assist them. In one case, such
delays resulted in one student not only missing class time but also being
reprimanded by her teacher for being late. Then as punishment, the student
was made to wait outside of the classroom.
Equipment Problems
Several equipment problems were identified in relation to bus transportation
to/from school. Parents identified problems with wheelchair securing devices
on the bus (“The bus driver slammed her brakes and [student’s] chair went
loose. That is when the straps broke.”), as well as a lack of bus driver knowl-
edge in how to use safety equipment (“The bus driver had no idea how to
operate a lift or the straps”). Additionally, concerns were raised that buses were
not air conditioned, which posed a problem for students with fragile health.
One within-school transportation problem shared by parents was the
inefficient use of elevators. One quote illustrates both logistical problems
and subsequent negative responses from nondisabled peers: “There seems
to be problems still with her using the elevator. The elevator kids [all students
with disabilities] are all just lined up. Kids come back and stare at them.” In
another case, a cafeteria lift was broken, requiring students with mobility
impairments to eat in an alternate space at school, removed from other
students. In this example as well as the situation described above, it appears
problems with school elevators/lifts may have a direct impact on students’
psychosocial experiences.
Physical Safety
In several cases, a student’s physical safety was compromised while being
transported. While they were not frequent occurrences, each situation had the
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52 B. C. Graham etal.
potential to harm one or more students with disabilities and in some cases
others as well. Parents described these situations as a result of equipment
failure and personnel training. As noted above, when wheelchair straps broke,
the student fell over, and safety was compromised. A second involved a student
falling over while waiting on the curb because the brakes on his wheelchair
were not properly secured. Another incident happened within the school,
when a student became stuck in the school elevator for over a half hour.
Several parents also discussed positive changes that occurred as a result
of administrative responses to the problems raised at parent meetings. For
example, following an intervention by the district special education office in
response to parent feedback about inconsistent arrival and departure times,
the situation improved (“I agree the schedule at first was a problem. Now
there is a definite pick-up and drop-off time”). In another meeting, a parent
noted her daughter’s aide had been reassigned to others and advocated for
the aide to be restored to supporting her daughter. In the meeting that
followed, the principal stated that she would communicate with human
resources to make sure the aide would again be assigned to the child.
This qualitative study examined parent perspectives on transportation chal-
lenges following a recent school transition for students with disabilities.
Information gathered from parent meetings with the school administration
revealed several themes, consisting of problems with aides, exclusion from
school programming, scheduling, equipment, and physical safety. This study
identifies transportation as a major inclusion issue for parents, and the themes
expressed by parents yield implications for theory, research and practice.
Problems With Aides
Parent input regarding aides revealed concerns that aides were not ade-
quately qualified to work with a particular child, were required to assist too
many students, exhibited high levels of turnover, and were at times inappro-
priately gender matched. Studies assessing parental attitudes toward inclu-
sion have frequently found that caring and qualified personnel are viewed as
central to a positive experience of inclusion and, conversely, the absence of
such sincere, trained adults is a major concern (Duhaney & Salend, 2000;
Green & Shinn, 1994). Although the perceptions of aides are not typically
included in research studies, the views of teachers have been assessed. In a
review of 28 studies on teacher attitudes toward inclusion, Scruggs and
Mastropieri (1996) determined that while two-thirds of teachers support the
concept of inclusion, only one fourth to one third felt they had sufficient
time, training, or materials to implement inclusion successfully. It is plausible
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Transportation Challenges 53
that in some cases aides are also not receiving sufficient training or that
schools lack sufficient resources to effectively meet the needs of students
with disabilities. Given the importance of aides to successful transportation
in particular and inclusion more generally, appropriate resources need to be
dedicated to training, staff–student ratios, and appropriate matching of aides
with students with disabilities.
Exclusion From School Programming
Parents expressed concerns that inadequate transportation prevented their
children from participating in school-related activities. Missed activities
included after-school programs, classes, field trips, and going off-campus for
lunch (a privilege extended to fellow nondisabled students). Prior studies
have shown that parents value the social aspects of after-school programs
(Antle etal., 2007), the incorporation of life skills in classes (e.g., cooking
and sex education), and vocational classes that may lead to future employ-
ment (Fisher etal., 1998). Students with disabilities have also reported anxi-
ety over not being included in academic and recreational activities that are
part of general educational programming (Padeliadu & Zigmond, 1996).
Students with disabilities often need adequate transportation to participate in
academic and social opportunities that they and their parents consider valu-
able elements of education.
Scheduling Problems
Disruptive bus scheduling was a common concern of parents. Problems
included long wait times and inconsistent pick-up and drop-off times. In a
discussion of what constitutes a least restrictive educational environment,
Brown etal. (2004) assert that the school day of a student with a disability
should as closely as possible reflect that of a student without a disability.
Parent reports in this study are not consistent with the district’s policy that the
duration of the school day should not exceed an hour longer or shorter for
students with disabilities compared to students without disabilities.
Transportation problems to and from school and the length of time to get to
school have predicted anxiety and depression for students with disabilities
(Graham etal., 2014 [this issue]). Adults with disabilities reported that trans-
portation problems, including inconsistent scheduling, negatively affect social
and community activities and reduce quality of life (Fresher-Samways etal.,
2003). Addressing these scheduling issues needs to be a primary concern.
Equipment Problems
Equipment problems reported by parents included worn or otherwise dam-
aged transportation and safety equipment and the inefficient use of such
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54 B. C. Graham etal.
devices. Parents reported consequences of equipment problems that included
social stigma, isolation, and potential physical injury. Reports of equipment
problems in the research literature are rare but do occur (e.g., Lovitt &
Cushing, 1999). One reason for equipment problems not appearing fre-
quently in inclusion research is that such studies typically focus on the class-
room needs of teachers or the social and academic concerns of parents,
which often do not include the mechanics of transportation. There may also
be barriers to communication between parents and schools, as well as
between students and parents, which could lead to underreporting of equip-
ment problems.
Physical Safety
Parents described a few events involving transportation and physical safety
that showed the potential for harm to students. Parents have previously
reported that when their children use school transportation, they are four
times more concerned with whether the child is properly restrained than
when the child is in a family vehicle (Falkmer & Gregersen, 2002).
Furthermore, students with disabilities are at a higher risk for injury in the
event of a vehicle accident than students without disabilities (Falkmer &
Gregersen, 2001). Parents who have experienced their child falling in the
past also worry whether their child will fall when they are not present (Antle
etal., 2007). Clearly, physical safety is a basic need of all students, and
special care may be required to keep students with disabilities safe going to
and from school.
Implications for Policy and Practice
This study offers several implications for policy and practice related to the
transportation needs of students with disabilities. While our analysis divided
the concerns voiced by parents into different themes, problems with trans-
portation are interconnected. These problems, in turn, can affect student
experiences in complex ways. For example, bus scheduling, equipment
problems, and the availability of aides can all affect whether a student arrives
to class on time, as well as the student’s academic involvement, social devel-
opment, sense of inclusion, and daily psychological comfort. Solutions
focused on a single individual or a small group will benefit a few cases but
will not satisfy the requirements under the IDEIA (2004) in addressing the
complex needs of all students with disabilities. A comprehensive approach
to addressing transportation as part of a larger inclusive plan is needed to
improve student experiences and outcomes.
Given the importance of busing for students with disabilities, enhanced
training of school bus personnel is needed. The inherent divide between
school districts and private bus contractors should be bridged in such a way
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Transportation Challenges 55
that school bus personnel are trained in the unique needs of students with
disabilities and informed about the particular needs and rights of students
who ride the bus. Interventions that link school and bus personnel and build
a sense of teamwork in service provision may help reduce transportation
problems for students with disabilities. In many cases, individual training of
students to use the bus or other modes of transport may improve outcomes
(Watanabe, Uematsu, & Kobayashi, 1993) when conducted in conjunction
with the training of bus personnel and other adults responsible for student
Transportation equipment that is used by students with disabilities
must be part of the routine maintenance and repair practices at schools,
and prioritized in the same way as other features of the built environment
critical to student learning. Thus, a broken school elevator should be
responded to in the same fashion as an inoperative door to a classroom,
and a bus’s wheelchair restraints should be monitored as carefully as its
engine and brakes.
Understanding the perspective of parents of students with disabilities is
a critical component to assessing the effectiveness of the many inclusive
educational features existing outside of the curriculum. This study illustrates
the importance of involving parental voice in shaping how transportation
services are administered for students with disabilities. While this study
focuses on parental concerns, the willingness to listen and act on the part of
the district is also critical. The opening of channels to understanding parent
voice may serve as a best practice in meeting the diverse needs of students
with disabilities. Such practices invite parental involvement in meaningfully
informing school practice, thereby enacting and advancing the educational
rights of students with disabilities.
This study involved the systematic investigation of meetings spon-
sored by the district to help improve the inclusion experience of students
with disabilities. Qualitative methods allowed for parent themes to emerge
across multiple parent meetings. A strength to this approach is that it was
based on the actual parent–district meetings that were held to gather input
from parents and address concerns. A limitation to this method of gather-
ing qualitative data is that not all meetings were documented in the same
fashion. However, only a minority of themes did not include exact
Parental voice is widely recognized as an important feature in how schools
educate our youth. However, in practice, the power of parent voice to shape
education can vary widely among schools and districts. For families facing mul-
tiple marginalizations due to racism, poverty, and ableism, meaningful parent
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56 B. C. Graham etal.
input is of critical importance. This study demonstrates the potential of struc-
tured, district-supported forums to shed light on parental concerns, including
the important issue of transportation. Creating opportunities to build school–
parent connections and responding in meaningful ways to parental input have
the potential to enhance student learning and overall school experiences.
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Transportation Challenges 57
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... In one study, a large proportion of surveyed parents of children with autism in Sweden worried about school bus safety (Falkmer & Gregersen, 2002). Concerns, including those reported in the other selected studies, focused on the child's sensory and communication difficulties, bus drivers' or bus aides' inadequate knowledge of the child's disability and support needs, and a lack of compliance with safety recommendations (Downie et al., 2020;Falkmer & Gregersen, 2002;Falkmer et al., 2004;Graham et al., 2014;Tiernan et al., 2013). These concerns could be generally associated with lack of knowledge of school transport regulations and standards and the limited involvement of parents in discussing child-specific needs (Falkmer & Gregersen, 2002;Falkmer et al., 2004;Graham et al., 2014;Ryan & Carey, 2008;Tiernan et al., 2013). ...
... Concerns, including those reported in the other selected studies, focused on the child's sensory and communication difficulties, bus drivers' or bus aides' inadequate knowledge of the child's disability and support needs, and a lack of compliance with safety recommendations (Downie et al., 2020;Falkmer & Gregersen, 2002;Falkmer et al., 2004;Graham et al., 2014;Tiernan et al., 2013). These concerns could be generally associated with lack of knowledge of school transport regulations and standards and the limited involvement of parents in discussing child-specific needs (Falkmer & Gregersen, 2002;Falkmer et al., 2004;Graham et al., 2014;Ryan & Carey, 2008;Tiernan et al., 2013). One way to facilitate safe school bus transportation is for parents to be active participants in the planning and sharing information on their child's needs to other relevant stakeholders (O'Neil et al., 2018). ...
... While much of the literature on children with NDDs focused on parents' views, scant literature explored the perspectives of bus drivers and bus aides, even though they are the key intermediaries of safety in such school transportation. Concerns relating to bus aides raised by parents included the following: bus aides not attending to their children; inappropriate gender match between bus aide and student; high incidence of bus aide turnover; lack of bus aides; and too many students to one bus aide (Graham et al., 2014). Further, there was general consensus within existing literature for increased critical attention to research and practice, including clarifying roles, and responsibilities and training of bus drivers and bus aides, as well as their inclusion in the transportation plans of children (Falkmer & Gregersen, 2002;Falkmer et al., 2004;Graham et al., 2014;O'Neil et al., 2018;Ross et al., 2020;Thomas, 2004;Tiernan et al., 2013). ...
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School buses facilitate access to education for many children. This research aimed to systematically review factors associated with safe school bus transportation for children with neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs). Searches of 5 databases, combining terms denoting NDDs and school buses, for English publications since 2000, yielded only 12 relevant articles among 1524 records. Literature was limited to parent-based studies, guidelines, reviews or commentaries. There was scant attention to the immediate roles of bus drivers and aides. Literature recommendations included increased attention to the needs of children with NDDs and improved communication, collaboration, support and training across all key stakeholders, particularly to improve implementation of individual child safety plans. Further research is needed on this critical support service for many families.
... Access to reliable transportation is a vital component of participating in society and maintaining quality of life [1][2][3]. In many countries, public transportation systems are currently facing a demand for accessible transportation service that is expected to grow over the next few decades [4]. ...
... There are 400,000 children and youth aged 0-24 with disabilities in Canada, many of whom rely on motor vehicle transportation [14]. Youth with disabilities, and their parents, commonly experience transportation-related challenges: including scheduling difficulties, lack of independence, and discriminatory attitudes among public transportation drivers [2,10,15]. Although public transportation can help to improve access to health care and community supports, it has limitations in terms of geographical reach and hours of operation [10,16]. ...
... The nominal group technique involves four main phases [1]: nominal phase where each person silently considers the issue [2]; item-generation phase where each person discloses their idea to the group [3]; a discussion and clarification phase where the group assures itself that it understands the items; and [4] ranking phase where the items are ranked and prioritized [28,30]. This method helps to encourage all members of a group to participate in all phases [33] and enables researchers to gather information from relevant stakeholders while facilitating creative problem solving through decision-making where the solutions are integrated [30,31]. ...
Background: Although access to reliable transportation is an essential component of quality of life, young people with disabilities encounter many transportation-related obstacles. Objective: To explore solutions to the challenges that youth with disabilities encounter in accessing and navigating transportation. Methods: A nominal group technique was used in two consultation workshops (one involving rehabilitation clinicians and accessible transportation stakeholders; and one with youth with disabilities and parents). Fifteen participants across two workshops took part and prioritized their solutions and we used a comparative analysis within and between groups to explore overarching themes. Results: The workshops resulted in 122 solutions (76 from youth/parents; 46 from stakeholders). Although there was considerable overlap within the ideas generated between the groups, they each prioritized them differently. The following themes emerged across the two group’s prioritized solutions: training, funding, enhancing access, and improved efficiency. Conclusions: Our findings highlight that youth with disabilities, parents and key stakeholders offered many practical solutions for enhancing accessible transportation for youth with disabilities.
... There were limited number of studies that questioned the use of cafe in the city parks of the disabled in the literature. One of the studies that was on students with disabilities was stated that the students had psychological problems due to the restricted access to the cafeteria (Graham et al. 2014). Furthermore, cafeterias are important for disabled individuals to communicate socially with other individuals (Bates and Davis 2004). ...
... Lastly, Graham et al. (2014) study using qualitative analysis in the US revealed five-dimensional challenges children with disabilities face regarding their school mobility which are scheduling problems, problems with aides, equipment problems, exclusion from school programming, and physical safety. Nevertheless, children's school mobility specific-literature through physical/active travel means are unhighlighted in this section of our paper. ...
The quality of bus transport to school and its synergistic effects on school attendance, quality teaching, and learning are best measured using experiences and perceptions of users. The study sought to investigate 43 obstacles to the delivery of quality bus service via 20 selected private schools in the Sunyani Municipality, Ghana. The survey was an exploratory case study which focused on the use of a questionnaire. Survey participants of 403 students were selected to respond, using the probability sampling technique. Descriptive statistics were used to define essential socio-demographic and bus service-related characteristics and their effects on schoolchildren's mobility decision-making as well as academic work. Exploratory factor analysis was used to construct four latent factors which describe obstacles to perceived service quality (PSQ) delivery. The theoretical factor structure of the data was tested using confirmatory factor analysis in AMOSS 23. Simultaneously, path analysis was employed to investigate the direct and indirect effects of barriers to PSQ in the private schools' transport system. The principal component analysis highlighted four constructs as barriers to bus PSQ in the municipality: (1) perceived scheduling and routing barriers, (2) perceived safety and bus attribute barriers, (3) pedestrian and bus stop facilities barriers and (4) efficiency, effectiveness, and equity-related barriers. We recommend that Private School Authorities and Municipal Board of Education adopt policies and draft operational safety and guideline manuals that clarify acceptable bus service delivery benchmarks and performance indicators for schools.
... Although children have transportation problems [8,19,20], there is limited research about use of NEMT among children. In particular, children with special health care needs face transportation problems [21][22][23][24]. Children with medical complexity (CMC), a sub-group of children with special health care needs, have many different medical conditions, need care from multiple specialists, are hospitalized frequently, and have more emergency room visits than children without medical complexity [25]. ...
BACKGROUND Transportation challenges affect access to health care. Our objective was to describe transportation challenges faced by Latino children with medical complexity and identify strategies that could address these challenges.METHODS This is a qualitative study. Seventy Latino children with medical complexity who were enrolled in a complex care program of a tertiary care children's hospital were followed for a median duration of 18 months. Qualitative data were care coordination notes for each child obtained from care coordinators' encounter logs and reported experiences. Using thematic content analysis and an iterative process, we identified recurrent themes related to transportation challenges.RESULTS Caregivers of Latino children with medical complexity face many challenges transporting their children to medical appointments. These include lack of vehicle, inability to drive, lack of driver's license due to immigration status, and lack of resources to maintain a vehicle. As a result, Latino children with medical complexity often need non-emergency medical transportation, but caregivers find these systems difficult to use, in part because of language difficulties. Thus, they rely on care coordinators to access non-emergency medical transportation. Transportation problems can lead to missed medical appointments for the child and lost work for the caregiver. We identified interrelated factors that contributed to transportation issues for Latino children with medical complexity and potential strategies to address them.LIMITATIONS The extent of transportation challenges cannot be discerned because this is a qualitative study.CONCLUSIONS Transportation is difficult for Latino children with medical complexity, who rely on non-emergency medical transportation to access medical services. Care coordinators play a major role in addressing transportation problems for Latino children with medical complexity and their caregivers.
... Regrettably, children with special education needs may require to travel further than those of mainstream programmes due to the limited number of schools that suits their particular education needs (Easton & Ferrari, 2015). Some of these special pupils are prone to greater risk of injuries and fatality in the event of an accident (Graham, Keys, McMahon, & Brubacher 2014). ...
Equal access to education is an essential element in achieving community wellbeing, hence it is crucial that the educational facilities to be equally accessible to children with special education needs. In Malaysia, one of the special education programme provided in mainstream public schools is the Program Pendidikan Khas Integrasi (PPKI). The programme is an effort towards inclusive education. The objective of this study includes: (i) to analyse the factors influencing the decision of parents in selecting school for their special children, and (ii) to assess the issues and problems faced by parents in selecting schools for their children with special needs. The study determines parents’ criteria in selecting school for their children with SEN among 134 parents of children in PPKI via questionnaire survey. Semi-structured interview was conducted among 12 teachers of PPKI, and the findings from the interview were used to validate the survey findings. Findings from these two methods were consolidated. Result shows that school selection for children with special needs are greatly associated with the school facility. The paper will benefit the local authority in planning for educational facility, as well as special needs children with regards to the educational facility for special education provision in a community.
Conference Paper
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Transportation is an essential aspect of everyday life. For people with intellectual disabilities transportation is one the largest barriers to community participation and a cause of inequality. However, digital technologies can reduce barriers for transportation use for people with intellectual disabilities and increase community mobility. The aim of this scoping review was to identify and map existing research on digital technology support for independent transport for people with intellectual disabilities and identify knowledge gaps relevant for further research. The authors conducted a scoping review of articles presenting digital technologies designed to assist in outdoor navigation for people with intellectual disabilities. The results show that while a variation of design elements was utilized, digital technologies can effectively support individuals with intellectual disability in transport. Further research should focus on multiple contexts and types of transportation, different support needs during independent travel, real-world settings, participatory approaches, and the role of user training.
Recent mass closings of schools have rocked cities across the United States. Though these urban closures—and widespread community protests—have made headlines, rural schools have also long experienced and opposed the closure of their schools. A large body of research examines these urban and rural closures from a variety of perspectives, including their economic motivations and policy implications. This review reexamines this literature, looking across context to show how school closure can produce spatial injustice. Advocates argue that closures further academic opportunity, efficiency, and equality. But our analysis shows that closures are unevenly distributed, disproportionately affecting places where poor communities and communities of color live, and they can bring negative effects, harming students and adults and reducing their access to an important educational and community institution. We conclude with recommendations for research and practice.
Schools are important settings that can be utilized to yield a positive impact on youth and the many issues our society faces. In this Presidential Address, I identify key issues and directions for the field, advocating that we need to expand our ecological focus, improve school climate, and collaborate with schools to effect change. To illustrate these key themes, findings from four projects with k‐12 youth and educators in the United States are described, and these projects have the following foci: protective factors for youth exposed to violence, teacher‐directed violence as part of an APA Task Force, school climate and neighborhood factors in relation to academic outcomes, and school transitions for students with disabilities. Challenges and future directions to build upon community psychology theory, research, practice, and policy are discussed. We need to expand our ecological focus to include the entire school system. We need to systematically assess and promote more positive school climate. We can collaborate with schools to foster social change.
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The advantages to a family-centered approach to services have been emphasized in education literature for several decades. Active family involvement and support have been identified as key elements to the success of inclusive early childhood education programs. The purpose of this article is twofold: to review literature on family involvement in inclusive early childhood programs from the perspective of developmental ecological systems theory, and to describe family-focused programs for developing embedded learning opportunities across multiple inclusive settings. In so doing, we discuss how the four components of the ecological system (the microsystem, parents and siblings; the mesosystem, peers and school; the exosystem, community connections; and the macrosystem, cultural identity) influence the education of the child.
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Inclusion and parent involvement are considered best practice in early childhood education, but few empirical studies have focused on the practical application of these concepts. This study used qualitative and quantitative methods to investigate the perspectives of parents of children with disabilities and teachers in inclusive settings regarding parent involvement and factors contributing to successful inclusion. Most parents reported that they felt a high degree of involvement on the team, and teachers generally indicated positive attitudes toward parent involvement. Both parents and teachers acknowledged the need for a shared commitment among all involved parties. Parents also reported that positive attitudes toward persons with disabilities were essential to successful inclusion, while teachers focused on the need for supports and resources.
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Previous research concerning the transport situation for children with disabilities has shown a lack of reliable data on their travel habits, although such data are essential for producing rules, regulations and guidelines for safe transportation of the target group. The results from the present questionnaire study, which was carried out among 1,060 parents of children with disabilities, showed that the target group travelled frequently in the family vehicle. Most of their journeys occupied a substantial amount of time. Less than a third of all family vehicles were adapted for transporting children with disabilities. There was a large proportion of safety belt users in the family vehicle. Lack of tiedown and safety restraint system procedures meant that journeys by school transportation and Special Transport Systems were a very hazardous means of transport for children with disabilities. The results suggest that school transportation systems must be compelled to use safety belts for children with disabilities, preferably for all children, since children seated in technical aids face an even greater risk in the event of an impact than other children. Tiedown systems must be made compulsory for road vehicle transportation with technical aids used as seating systems.
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This study explored the extent to which transportation difficulties were associated with social, psychological, and academic experiences of urban, at-risk students who recently experienced a school transition. Participants included 165 predominantly African American and Latino/a high school youth with and without disabilities, a critical population for community psychology to address given their likelihood of multiple marginalizations. Results suggested transportation problems within school predicted more school stressors and aggressive behavior. Transportation problems to and from school predicted fewer school resources, less school belonging, and more school stressors, anxiety, and depression. Greater time to get to school predicted fewer school resources, less school belonging, and more depressive symptoms. This study demonstrates the importance of including transportation in how the school day is conceptualized, and offers several implications for how transportation services can be best addressed.
2 Students with autism attending a special school and a special class for students with mental retardation were taught to ride public buses. Based on a task analysis of bus-riding skills, training was conducted both in a training room and in the natural environment. During instruction in the training room, a simulated setting was utilized. During instruction in the natural environment, an actual public bus was used. The results showed that with the following techniques: (1) shaping the students' behavioral repertories in a simulated setting, (2) using an immediate-prompt procedure to train them in the natural environment, and (3) applying a self-monitoring procedure to responses in the presence of the discriminative stimuli, the students' busriding skills were shaped. These findings show that the combination of training in a simulated setting and in the natural setting was effective for shaping bus-riding skills. The self-monitoring procedure may be useful for acquiring stimulus control so that the desired target behavior occurs precisely.
Parents (N=21) of children receiving special education resource room services in reading were interviewed to learn about their views concerning these services and reintegration decisions. Quantitative and qualitative research strategies were used to scale attitudes and cluster responses. Most parents had strong positive attitudes toward resource room services. The basis for these attitudes was explored, and it was found that parents’ satisfaction was derived primarily from subjective perceptions (such as teachers’ caring), rather than academic performance data. Most parents were reluctant to have their children reintegrated into general education classes for reading instruction. Findings are discussed in the context of special education reform efforts.
It is now the responsibility of educators to provide for the education of severely handicapped students in what has been referred to as “the least restrictive educational environment.” This paper discusses least restrictive educational environments in relation to segregation versus integration, interactions with nonhandicapped age peers, the ratio between handicapped and nonhandicapped students, chronologically age-appropriate educational environments, architectural barriers and prosthetized environments, “normal” organization of the school day, equal access to school facilities and resources, transportation, and ancillary services. The fundamental premise offered here is that educational service delivery models for severely handicapped students must closely approximate the best educational service delivery models used for nonhandicapped students.
This qualitative study analyzed the process of inclusive education experienced by parents of children with severe disabilities. Based on interviews with 20 parents, the study found that the process of inclusion extends beyond the parents' initial placement decision to their ongoing involvement at the school site. At the schools, parents actively participate in the work of inclusion. At the same time, the parents become entrepreneurs of meaning, shaping the definition and reality of inclusive education for their children.
Twenty-eight investigations were identified in which general education teachers were surveyed regarding their perceptions of including students with disabilities in their classes. Research synthesis procedures were employed to summarize responses and examine the consistency of responses across time, geographical location, and item type. Overall, we found that about two thirds of general classroom teachers supported the concept of mainstreaming/inclusion. A smaller majority were willing to include students with disabilities in their own classes, but responses appeared to vary according to disabling condition and implicit obligations on the teacher. Although about half or more of the teachers felt that mainstreaming/inclusion could provide some benefits, only one third or less of teachers believed they had sufficient time, skills, training, or resources necessary for mainstreaming/inclusion. Reported attitudes did not appear to covary with either geographical region or time of publication. Implications for policy and practice are provided.
It is now the responsibility of educators to provide for the education of severely handicapped students in what has been referred to as the least restrictive educational environment. This paper discusses least restrictive educational environments in relation to segregation versus integration, interactions with nonhandicapped age peers, the ratio between handicapped and nonhandicapped students, chronologically age-appropriate educational environments, architectural barriers and prosthetized environments, normal organization of the school day, equal access to school facilities and resources, transportation, and ancillary services. The fundamental premise offered here is that educational service delivery models for severely handicapped students must closely approximate the best educational service delivery models used for nonhandicapped students.