Young adults with moderate to severe disabilities who age out of special education if at all possible must have the skills to navigate safely through their community using public transportation for the purposes of employment, post-secondary education or training, or recreation or leisure. To lack these skills means that these young adults may effectively be trapped in their homes due to their constant dependence upon others for transportation. “Travel training,” as this skill is called, can be taught, preferably well before the completion of high school. (A different skill is taught to young adults who are blind or visually impaired.) However, travel training is an often under-looked yet vitally important component of a child’s transition plan. The Government Accountability Office cites limited access to reliable public transportation as a major obstacle for individuals with disabilities and may be one of the reasons for the high unemployment rate among young disabled adults compared to their peers (13.5% vs. 7.3%).
Transition plans, which are the blueprint to assist the child in reaching his post-high school goals, are developed as part of an IEP usually when the child turns 14 but no later than 16. A thoughtfully written transition plan will carefully delineate the steps needed to ensure the student can achieve those post-high school goals. And for appropriately identified students, travel training can be a key related service in the transition plan.