Including Children with Disabilities
All children face challenges as they grow and develop. For children with disabilities, the scope of these challenges includes a physical, sensory, emotional or cognitive impairment that can complicate and magnify the usual demands of childhood.
Walk and Bike to School Day events create opportunities for children to interact and socialize with their peers. These events can also provide opportunities to teach pedestrian and bicycle safety skills, and positive experiences to encourage independent travel later in life. There are many ways to include children with disabilities in your Walk or Bike to School event that will make it rewarding and enjoyable for everyone.
The National Center on Physical Activity and Disability (NCPAD) provides the following advice:
- Survey the walking/wheeling path for safety and accessibility.
- Determine a reasonable distance to walk/wheel that is based on the child’s ability.
- Plan walking/wheeling or other physical activities on school grounds if the school route is unsafe or inaccessible. Be creative!
- If children take the bus to school, plan in advance to have the school bus drop off the children one to two blocks from the school. A principal or designated school official can walk/wheel with the children to school.
- For more information, see Walk and Roll to School: Tips for Including Children with Disabilities (PDF).
Additional strategies include:
- Meeting with the Special Education Team leader to talk about ways to ensure all students can participate.
- Seeking involvement and input from parents of children with disabilities.
Browse Involving Children With Disabilities in Safe Routes to School for ideas for ongoing walking and bicycling programs.
Read examples of communities that have implemented inclusive Walk to School Day and Bike to School Day events.