School Bus Transportation: Serving Students With Autism

school bus safety, special needs student transportation, students with autism, school bus transportation

shutterstock_142770265.jpgAutism is a term frequently used to describe a group of neuro-developmental disorders. Students on the autism spectrum generally experience challenges related to communication, social interaction and restrictive or repetitive interests or behaviors. These special needs students may also have additional needs due to medical issues, anxiety, sensory sensitivity and differences in coordination or muscle tone. Transporting students on the autism spectrum takes thorough advance planning and special accommodations.Accommodations for Students with Autism

There are several things that drivers and school districts can do to make school bus transportation easier for students with autism. It’s important to keep in mind that the bus environment itself can be quite overwhelming for those on the autism spectrum. Hypersensitivity to sights, smells, touch and temperature can lead to over-stimulation and a high level of distress. To minimize this, drivers can:

  • Seat students with autism close to the driver, seated individually, if needed
  • Be conscious of bus noise levels
  • Allow the use of noise-cancelling headphones or ear plugs
  • Have visual safety instructions posted on the bus
  • Be direct and calm with verbal instructions and allow for extra time to process
  • Do not force eye contact
  • Assign an aide to ride along with the student
  • Whenever possible, alert students to route changes or other deviations from the normal routine
  • Be aware of any special accommodations listed in a student’s IEP, or suggested by teachers, parents or school administrators

Many autism advocacy groups, such as Autism Speaks, offer specialized training materials for drivers who will be transporting students on the autism spectrum. School bus transportation administrators can also assist by adjusting routes, so that students can be picked up last or dropped off quicker to minimize their ride time or in a safer location.

School bus transportation software is one tool that school districts can use to make their routes safer for students on the autism spectrum. When under stress, many children with autism flee, which can lead to dangerous situations — especially when entering or exciting the bus. Today’s transportation technology allows users to plan routes that avoid high-traffic areas, sex offender residences and other areas that might pose a danger to students.

For more information about school bus safety, special needs routing software and the technological opportunities available for your school district, contact the team of transportation specialists at BusBoss. We would be glad to schedule a live demo for your district.

Start Your Live Chat

We appreciate your feedback. Please share any tips that you may have for transporting students on the autism spectrum.