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.
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 have a para-transit service that provides transportation for people with disabilities or elderly individuals for a reduced price. Speak with the O&M specialist to learn about para-transit in your community, or call the local bus or train company to ask if there is a para-transit alternative. Consider registering for your local para-transit service when your child is in high school. This typically will involve obtaining an application, getting a signature from your child’s doctor to verify your child’s disability, and possibly having your child interviewed or evaluated to determine eligibility for the service. Most para-transit companies allow riders to have one person with them when they travel so you can go with your child in the van or car. As with other forms of transportation, consider having a monthly outing using this method of travel so that your child becomes familiar with it. As the service provides door-to-door transportation and is designed for people with disabilities, it may be a very viable option for your child to use as a teenager and into adulthood.
For more information, see Foundations of Education, Volume II, A. Koenig & C. Holbrook (Eds.)