Special Education/bus ride

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Question
My daughter is 9 and special ed.  Her bus ride is 45 minutes to a school 5 minutes from me. Is there anything I can do? She is horribly exhausted in the morning. They told me it's fair because she's the first dropoff but I don't see how that makes it fair.

Answer
Dear Clara,

Thank you first of all for using this service and for asking an important and common question.

My first thought is to explore whether non-disabled children in your neighborhood are bussed to school. The reason I am thinking about this is two fold. First, the child with a disability should not be discriminated against just because she needs special transportation. Second, if children in the neighborhood are bussed, could your daughter get on a general education school bus, with or without supports?

My next thought is to ask a doctor or other professional to document that she is exhausted and it is affecting her learning.

And, I think you should try to contact the special education transportation supervisor to see if the route can be changed.

If you can drive her to school, you may also be entitled to compensation for mileage or costs for appropriate transportation.  

I would bring this up to the IEP team, and check with the teacher about how her being so tired from the bus ride is adversely affecting her education.  I think this, not 'fair', is the standard for a free appropriate public education.

Perhaps if you can find other parents with this same problem, the group of you could go to the Board of Ed or Principal and make a case for changes to be made.  

Here is a link to the US DOE on the subject:
http://idea.ed.gov/explore/view/p/%2Croot%2Cdynamic%2CQaCorner%2C12%2C

If your daughter is spending 90 minutes per day on the bus, you should also ask the school district for its policy on the maximum time appropriate for special education transportation.

I hope these ideas have helped you as you advocate for your child's education! Thank you again for writing to me, and feel free to follow up if I have not answered your question.

Thank you!  

Special Education

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Michelle R. Davis, M. Ed.

Expertise

I can answer questions about disability definitions and criteria for services, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 2004, No Child Left Behind, 504 plans, how to craft an IEP that drives the appropriate services, school placement, dispute options, and least restrictive environment. I worked in the public school system as a special educator and am now in private consulting practice where we assist parents as they navigate the special education process. I have expertise in all educational disabilities except blind/visual impairments and deaf/hard of hearing. This includes ADHD and other health impairments, medical conditions, dyslexia and learning disabilities, Autism, emotional disabilities, language processing problems, and interfering behaviors.

Experience

10 years as special educator and administrator in public school system; Director of ABCs for Life Success since 1998; Expert services such as analysis and testimony; Author: Special Needs Advocacy Resource Book: What you can do now to advocate for your exceptional child's education; Special Needs Advocacy Training Institute; internet radio show Teach Your Children Well: Hot Topics in Education; author School Success for Kids with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders released March 2010 (Prufrock Press).

Education/Credentials
Masters in Special Education with Emphasis on Inclusive Education (Johns Hopkins University); B.S.in Special Education (James Madison University); Conduct training for Universities, public and private schools, parent groups. Adjunct professor current George Washington University and prior George Mason University.

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