Ensuring Comfortable Travel on Public Transport
The Middlesex County Vocational and Technical Schools (MCVTS) in conjunction with the Rutgers University and the New Jersey Travel Independent Program has made it their goal to provide comfortable public transportation for special needs students.
According to Dr. Tracey I. Maccia, the director of special education at MCVTS, there is need to provide comfortable public transport for special needs students in order to enhance their sense of self-determination and independence. This plays a very important role to the development of the students because it enables them to venture out into their community. As such, there is a need for travel training for students who are differently abled.
The course is an intensive program that helps students who are differently abled to learn how to travel safely and comfortably when they leave home for school, work or leisure activities on public transportation. The course teaches students to travel independently, on the most secure and most direct route to their destinations such as work and school, and back.
The Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers University has trained personnel that provide the training to students with disabilities. This is a step in the right direction because it is going to impact positively on the lives of such students. There is an amazing story of Ben Cockram, a disabled student transporter who talks about what traveling in public transport entails. According to Ben, one of the most challenging things that students with disabilities encounter is the wrong first impression by drivers. That is why this travel training is going to be of tremendous importance to the students with disabilities who use public transport.
For this to make any sense, customized strategies must be employed because different students have different needs making it important to help them understand the realities of public transportation.
Since the passage of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) about a quarter of a century ago, there has been considerable interest in travel training for students with disabilities. The two, IDEA and ADA, provide individuals and students with disabilities as well as their school systems, families, community agencies, service providers and transit systems with persuasive incentives to work together in order to ensure that students who are differently abled learn the safest ways to use public transportation.
This work cannot be left to teachers alone. Many must work together to ensure that no student with disability should be denied the chance to learn public transportation best practices irrespective of their abilities.
So far, the program has been a success. Teachers and students have gained a valuable understanding of what public transportation for disability students means, especially in Middlesex County. There are even plans to continue with the program after the grant has been discontinued.
These are very laudable efforts, which should be encouraged throughout the country. Our students and teachers with special needs need all the help they require when it comes to public transportation. If you want to know whether your school is a beneficially of the program, visit this website.