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Transportation as a “related service” under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

Transportation as a “related service” under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

September 3, 2023

In 1975, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was signed into law. Originally known as the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, this federal law ensures that children and youth with special needs receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE).

The IDEA also guarantees that all eligible special needs students have access to specialized education and related services. This includes specialized transportation services that enable these students to receive a quality education.

How the IDEA affects special needs transportation

The IDEA requires public schools to create an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for special needs students who are found to be eligible under both the federal and state eligibility/disability standards.

Once an eligible student's transportation needs are identified in their IEP, this is discussed with the student and their family.

Other transportation-related services under IDEA

By ensuring that special needs students have access to free appropriate public education and related services, the IDEA helps prepare these children and youth for further education, employment, and independent living.

The IDEA also supports school districts and special education professionals to enhance special needs transportation with:

  • Additional support personnelIf the IEP team determines that a special needs student can benefit from having an aide or monitor, this accommodation can be made to improve their school journeys.With the right training, these aides can provide support by monitoring student safety and helping kids to board vehicles. Based on state and local policy, these aides may be instructional assistants or volunteers.
  • Transportation fundingThe Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) oversees three formula grant programs authorized by the IDEA. These grants are given to states yearly to support early-intervention services for infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families, preschool education for children aged three to five, and special needs education.
  • Specialized equipment
    To provide special needs students with the necessary support during their school journeys, the IDEA also requires that special education-related services and specialized equipment be provided to students who need it.Vehicle-specific equipment, such as wheelchair ramps and adaptive car seats, can be provided either by the school district or by special needs transportation providers who use small-capacity vehicles. Oftentimes, these providers will build these types of accommodations into their pricing models, on an as-needed basis.

 

Learn more about the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

Click here to read how each state implements the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). You can also view the relevant state and territory agencies, contact information, State Performance Plans, and Annual Performance Reports.

For more information about how our reliable alternative student transportation service meets your students’ unique needs without compromising their safety, check out our EverDriven Safety Commitment and read our whitepaper, “Alternative student transportation – Everything you need to know.”

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