Transportation Options for Nondrivers with Multiple Disabilities

If your child is a nondriver, they might choose to use a variety of transportation options throughout adolescence and adulthood. There are options they will use with support and those used independently; if any, it will depend on your child’s abilities and needs. Beginning in preschool or elementary school, you can expose your child to the options that may be used daily. Your child may be able to use one or more options for specific purposes. Learning fixed routes for travel will increase independence.

Public Transportation

When your child is young, consider traveling as a family using public transportation in your community. Even if you drive a car, you can plan a monthly outing where you and your child take the public bus or a taxi. Involve your child in these outings by having specific things to do, such as paying the bus fare, handing the driver a card telling what stop is needed to be let off at, or figuring out the amount of money to give the taxi driver for the fare. Over time you can increase the amount of responsibility your child has when the two of you travel.


Most communities offer para-transit services at a reduced cost for people with disabilities or elderly individuals. To learn about para-transit in your area, consult an Orientation & Mobility (O&M) specialist or contact local bus or train companies. Consider registering your high school-aged child for para-transit. This process typically involves an application, a doctor’s signature to confirm the disability, and possibly an interview or evaluation for eligibility.

Para-transit companies usually allow an accompanying person, so you can travel with your child. Try to have regular outings using this service to familiarize your child with it. Given its door-to-door feature and design for people with disabilities, para-transit can be a practical option for your teenager and as they grow into adulthood.

For more information, see Foundations of Education, Volume II, A. Koenig & C. Holbrook (Eds.)