Transportation: a link to a quality life

On Wednesday I was fortunate enough to attend a roundtable on Transportation for Students with Disabilities. The roundtable was sponsored by Easter Seals Project Action, which promotes cooperation between the transportation industry and the disability community. The goal of Wednesday’s event was to identify the transportation needs of youth with disabilities and develop a set of actions to address the barriers they face when it comes to transportation access. A fabulous, diverse group of people were in attendance. Youth with disabilities, parents, service providers, educators, vocational rehabilitation counselors, and others all spent the day engaged around the issue of transportation.

Jim Williams, president and chief executive officer of Easter Seals, said, “Transportation is literally the link to schools, the work place, and every other destination in community life.”

Employment, recreation, education … accessing all of these experiences require transportation. One thing the group could agree on is that the current public transportation system has many barriers. Inaccessible fixed route systems, limited para-transit and a complete lack of resources in rural areas were all mentioned.

The people at this event were focused on solutions. Solutions such as incorporating transportation education into high school curriculum standards, providing sensitivity training to public transportation operators, and promoting self-advocacy skills throughout a student’s years in special education.

The conversation at the roundtable was just the beginning. This group and others will continue to work towards ensuring that youth with disabilities have the transportation they need to lead the lives they deserve.


 

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  1. Patricia Wright Says:

    Kim – traveling with children with disabilities is challenging. I am hopeful that this posting inspired you to consider it a challenge that may be possible to overcome.


  2. Mary Leary Says:

    The Roundtable on Accessible Transportation for youth with disabilities underscored the essential nature of transportation access and the opportunity that exists to integrate training on transportation access to both general education and special education curricula. There was so much exciting energy among participants and agreement on both the importance of the topic and the best ways to address the need. Art rendered by students with disabilities was also previewed which showed how much work we still have to do to ensure that youth with disabilities feel safe and able to navigate the complexities of their community transportation systems. One youth used an air balloon to signify what transportation meant to her – the freedom and independence that such access provides. In all, the event was an important reminder of what youth with disabilities want and the importance of their voice in developing the right solutions.


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