Access for All Students
Including Children with Disabilities
New York Mills, MN
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, Bike & Roll 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, Bike & Roll to School Day event that will make it rewarding and enjoyable for everyone. Below is a selection of resources to help with planning events and Safe Routes to School programs that are accessible to the entire student community.
Guides and Reports
Inclusion and Abilities Guide – Massachusetts Safe Routes to School
- Guide from Massachusetts Safe Routes to School to help with an understanding of:
- What language we use to consistently talk about and include students with disabilities
- How to support students’ specific needs so they can participate in the program
- Who to coordinate with to improve access for our students with disabilities
Engaging Students with Disabilities in Safe Routes to School (2021)
- Publication by the Safe Routes to School National Partnership outlines ways to engage students with disabilities in safe routes to school programs. This factsheet provides information on how to plan and develop a program that meets the needs of students with disabilities.
Effectively Planning and Implementing SRTS for Students with Disabilities (2010)
- White paper from the Michigan Department of Transportation and Michigan Physical Fitness, Health, and Sport Foundation provides a foundation for Safe Routes to School practitioners to enable and encourage children, including those with disabilities, to walk, bike, or roll to school.
Inclusive Planning in Tribal Communities (2020)
- White paper by America Walks discusses how to advance inclusive planning for people with disabilities within tribal communities.
Pursuing Equity in Bike and Pedestrian Planning (2016)
- White paper by the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center includes a case study describing how the Ohio Department of Transportation (DOT) Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program partnered with different government agencies to enable two underserved schools in Columbus the ability to participate in Safe Routes to School.
News and Other Publications
Adapted bikes open up roads and pathways to children with a range of abilities
- Article features a school using adapted bikes to promote motor skills among its students with disabilities. It describes the intent behind the school’s effort to enable children to ride bikes, understanding that it normalizes their youth experience and promotes fine motor skills. It also breaks down the components of an adapted bike.
Adaptive Riding in Colorado
- Publication and resource page from Bicycle Colorado provides information on resources, funding, and success stories around adaptive riding. It shares the times of adaptive bikes and how they benefit the rider using them, as well as a list of retailers who can provide products and further information about said bikes. The page also shares funding sources that help pay for equipment, training, and activities.
For Kids With Disabilities, The Fun Has Just Begun
- Publication from Shriners Hospital highlights different types of adaptive bikes, modifications, and overall benefits to their use for young children. Key is understanding how the bikes should be modified to fit the needs of each rider.
Seattle Public Schools and Cascade Bicycle Club, resuming the country’s largest bicycling education program
- Blog post from the Seattle Department of Transportation highlighting their Let’s Go Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety program. Their aim is to teach bicycle and walking safety skills to elementary and middle school students. The program provides bikes, safety equipment, and teaching materials to the city’s public schools. The program also provides special training for children with disabilities by proving adaptive cycles with their partner Outdoors for All Foundation.