October 2019, Vol. 5, No. 8
RAISE The Standard Newsletter
Raising the Standard for Young Adults with Disabilities
Technical Assistance and Resources for RSA-funded
Parent Training and Information Centers
Did you know that travel skills are a predictor of positive post-school outcomes?

Researchers have shown that students with disabilities who could travel independently outside the home to places like school, local stores, the library, and a neighbor’s house were more likely to be engaged in post-school employment than peers who could not.

This issue focuses on travel training and mobility as a vital component of transition planning, and a door opener to college, career, and community connections.
“It makes me feel awesome.”
- Martin

Learning to get around not only expands job options, it’s a ton of fun. Don’t just take our word for it. Meet Matthew and Martin, two young men in the UK talking about the freedom and self-esteem that comes with travel training – and not needing your mom to pick you up anymore.
Travel training is an area of transition planning and transition services that looks at training people with disabilities to get around safely and independently – whether on foot or in a wheelchair, on a bike or scooter, in a car, or using public transportation.

We love this definition of “Transportation Education” provided by the Easter Seals Project ACTION (Accessible Community Transportation in Our Nation)

“Transportation Education” creates a culture and a coordinated set of practices to connect students, families, educators, pupil transporters, and public transportation professionals to ensure that students have knowledge, access, and choice regarding a continuum of accessible transportation options across grade levels, especially as they transition from school to postsecondary education, employment, and independent living.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) mandates that public transportation systems become accessible to people with disabilities and that paratransit services are available and accessible to individuals who are unable to use public transportation.

The availability of transportation is not the only barrier. Students must also know what systems of transport are available, how to access them, how to plan their travel, and how to execute their travel plans safely.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires public schools to provide “transition services” to youth with disabilities, to prepare them for the transition from school to adult life. While accessible transportation and transportation training are not mentioned within IDEA, the ability to use available transportation systems may be critical to a student’s transition into the adult world.
Check out this webinar produced by the Family Support Center of New Jersey focusing on travel training and transportation services.

This 12-minute video profiles the work done as part of the San Francisco Unified School District.

female student in wheelchair boarding a public bus
“I have never heard of transportation or transportation issues being addressed in a transition plan….” 

Recent litigation affirms the importance of a focus on mobility and transportation. In a 2013 court case, the Los Angeles Unified School District IEP team did not consider travel training as a transition goal for a student who would need public transportation to get around in his community. The court ruled, “Failure to provide students with an opportunity to learn how to use public transportation erects barriers to community inclusion.”

The Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) provide the foundation for transportation education and travel instruction.

5 Good Questions to Ask as Part of the Transition IEP

  • What sections of the IEP can include content on transportation education?
  • What assessments are you currently using to assess the student’s skill levels?
  • How can these assessments support transportation education needs?
  • How does the transition plan support the student’s future travel needs?
  • Are there courses of study the student can engage in to provide more opportunities for independent travel?

Here are some outcome-oriented goals as they relate to travel training:

The student will…

  • recognize and respond to street signs.
  • use a map to navigate a college campus.
  • plan a trip and estimate time needed to travel from home to work.
  • independently travel to and from work using public transportation.
  • utilize campus transit options to attend weekly classes.
  • use pedestrian skills to walk to businesses in the community.
  • ride a bike independently to and from the library and the pharmacy.
  • take and pass the written and practical driving test.

What about driving?

It may come as a surprise, but physical challenges related to disability are often the easiest to address, because adaptive tools can make it physically possible to drive. The biggest obstacle for many teens with disabilities is the visual processing and decision-making aspect of driving.

A Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist (CDRS) can help. A CDRS has specific training, experience, and understanding around both physical and “invisible” special needs, such as learning disabilities, dyslexia, and high-functioning autism. 

A complete evaluation includes vision screening and, in general, assesses muscle strength, flexibility, and range of motion, coordination and reaction time, judgment and decision making abilities, and ability to drive with adaptive equipment. Upon completion of an evaluation, clients receive a report containing specific recommendations on driving requirements or restrictions, and a complete list of recommended vehicle modifications.
Tools that Work icon wioth hammer and icon with screwdriver and wrench on yellow background
For Students:

This printable pocket guide can help students with disabilities deal with the unexpected on a trip.

This checklist and guide can help youth plan their trip.

For Educators and School Leaders:

Are you looking to hire a travel trainer as part of a transition plan? This guide can help.

This resource provides information on guidelines for travel instruction, complete with job descriptions.

A comprehensive curriculum designed for educators, human services, families, and transit regarding transportation education and travel instruction.

This 2015 national action guide describes models across the county, and includes information about how each is funded.

This resource provides information for educators interested in providing travel training services for their students.
Resources icon - three books on a shelf
We know that every town, every city, every community has its own issues, challenges, and barriers. There is no “one size fits all” solution to transportation training. While learning to ride a subway may work in Brooklyn, New York, learning to ride a bike or a horse might be a better solution in Sandy Valley, Nevada.

For that reason, in this issue, we offer an extended resources section.

Easter Seals Project Action:

Project Action provides affordable, flexible, professional training and consultation on ADA accessible transportation issues.

National Aging and Disability Transportation Center: https://www.nadtc.org/

National RTAP Rural Transit Assistance Program: http://nationalrtap.org/Home

The goals of the RTAP program are to promote the safe and effective delivery of public transportation services in rural areas and to facilitate more efficient use of public transportation resources.

TTAP Tribal Transit Assistance Program:

TTAP is a one-stop transportation resource for tribal communities across the country. The TTAP Center provides comprehensive transportation training and technical assistance to tribal communities, building skills and expertise to ensure the safety and maintenance of tribal roads and the continuous professional development of tribal transportation workforces.

National Center for Mobility Management (NCMM): https://nationalcenterformobilitymanagement.org/

The mission of NCMM is to facilitate communities to adopt transportation strategies and mobility options that empower people to live independently, and advance health, economic vitality, self-sufficiency, and community.

Shared-Use Mobility Center (SUMC): https://sharedusemobilitycenter.org/

SUMC is a public-interest organization working to foster collaboration in shared mobility (including bikesharing, carsharing, ridesourcing, and more) and help connect the growing industry with transit agencies, cities, and communities across the nation. Through piloting programs, conducting new research, and providing advice and expertise to cities and regions, SUMC hopes to extend the benefits of shared mobility for all.

The Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists (ADED): https://www.aded.net/

The Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists supports professionals working in the field of driver education/driver training and transportation equipment modifications for persons with disabilities, through educational conferences and research support.
Conferences and Webinars
Mark Your Calendar

October 25-28
Conference – Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living Annual Conference (APRIL) Grand Rapids, Michigan.

November 14-16
Conference – Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health 30th Annual Conference, Phoenix, Arizona.
Collaboration • Empowerment • Capacity-building

RAISE The Standard enewsletter identifies and shares resources that the Rehabilitation Services Administration Parent Training and Information Centers (RSA-PTI) can use and share with families.
Executive Editor:
Peg Kinsell
Visit our Website:
RAISE, the National Resources for Access, Independence, Self-Advocacy and Employment is a user-centered technical assistance center that understands the needs and assets of the RSA-PTIs, coordinates efforts with the Technical Assistance provided by PTI centers and involves RSA-PTIs as key advisors and partners in all product and service development and delivery.
US Department of Education official seal
RAISE is funded by the US Department of Education to provide technical assistance to, and coordination of, the 7 PTI centers (RSA-PTIs). It represents collaboration between the nation's two Parent Technical Assistance Centers (PTAC) and the seven Regional PTACs.