Transportation: a link to a quality life
Posted on October 30th, 2009 by Patricia
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.