School bus questions


New member
At what size (age?) do kids benefit from compartmentalization on a school bus? I remember hearing this at a seminar, but I can't remember now.

DD has been asking to ride the bus to school. They have harnesses for the preschool kids, but I drive her anyway because I like talking to her teacher every day :eek:, plus she didn't want to ride the bus at first. However, she's likely to go to Kindergarten next year, and I don't believe they harness them on the bus. I know buses are safe and wouldn't mind having her ride once she's big enough and mature enough. She's a teeny little thing though, so I don't know if she's big enough for compartmentalization to work properly for her. She weighs about 30lbs right now.

My other question is this... do they have aides on buses to monitor kids who have medical conditions? Even if she were big enough, I'm not sure I'm comfortable with her riding around town on the bus without someone who would notice if she had a seizure.

I'm not sure why I'm worrying about this already... I guess because every day when I drop her off, she talks about riding the bus to "big kid school" next year. :rolleyes:


New member
Jenny -

Do you know if there is a bus for students with special needs? From the school district perspective, I think you would need to get an IEP for Jessica to be able to take the special education bus. I think that is going to be the most likely way to have an aide on the bus to monitor children with medical conditions. If you want to pursue this option, find out what the pick up schedule is like. I think these buses can take much longer to pick up children.

Isabelle rode the bus for a field trip in the fall for the first time. Isabelle was probably about 37/38lbs and 41 in tall at the time. I was concerned about her safety and I was told she would be okay at that size. I'll be interested to see the other responses.



New member
Thanks, Melanie. She does have an IEP but at this time it doesn't include anything about the bus since she doesn't ride it yet. Our next IEP meeting is in June, so I assume that's when we'd discuss transportation to Kindergarten.


New member
My preschooler is much larger then your daughter but she does ride the bus home from school daily. I am curious on also on what size compartmentalization works with. For our school district there's an aid on each of the early intervention preschool buses (we have 3). There job is to buckle/unbuckle the children and to watch the kids during the ride. There is a boy that is legally blind on DD bus that sits right behind the driver.

I did check out the bus thing before I let my daughter ride the bus. I asked the driver one afternoon, if we could both get on and look at the bus. I was pretending to show her the bus but I was really checking the harness system and how they buckle the kids in. She didn't want to ride it because it didn't have any car seats. ;)

When you set up the IEP did anyone bring up transportation? I know I didn't plan on busing but I was required to either deny or accept transportation. Accepting didn't mean I had to bus but had the choice if I changed my mind.

Check the paperwork from your last IEP meeting about transportation. I bet you could at least get an aid next year if she is riding the regular bus. If its in the IEP then they have to follow it.


CPST and ketchup snob
Staff member
I was told in my tech class that it was "the size of an average first grader." I don't know what that is specifically, but I'd assume it has as much to do with height as with weight and/or age.

I agree an IEP for the special needs bus is a good idea if she needs monitoring for the seizures. I think that an argument could also be made that she needs to be harnessed as long as possible on the bus if seizures are a probability, because she could injure herself and/or another child if she goes into a grand mal seizure on the bus unrestrained. There's just no clear space to seize. If she's restrained, an aide with her, she's less likely to injure herself or others and the aide can make sure the bus pulls over, unharness her and get her lying on her side in a clear area if possible, or at least monitor her for vomiting and prevent aspiration.


New member
Thanks! I honestly don't remember anything on her previous IEP about transportation... I'll have to dig it out and look.

I agree that height probably has a lot to do with it too. She's tall (I think). Not sure on percentiles, but she's 44". I doubt that's anywhere near the height of an average first grader though and she's certainly a lightweight.

Gah, the more I think about this, the more I just don't want her to ride the bus. However, I don't want to prevent her from doing normal kid things just because I'm worried about her. Guess I should ask about this at her IEP meeting. It does sound like a harness is the way to go, if possible.


New member
I am coming at this kinda late but my son rides the small bus he is young 3 he goes to special ed preschool. He rides the bus in the ez on vest he is to tall for the carseats they have. If she has a iep she should be able to ride the small bus. Now the small bus have a lap belt but with her being that little I would imagine she fits in alot of carseats. Talk to the bus transportation company that is how I found that the carseats they had would not fit my son and yes I did have a bit of fight getting them to use the ez on harness with Brayden but I did eventually get what i wanted


I am a teacher and we have a student in first grade who has frequent seizures of varying degrees. The school nurse rides the bus with her everyday. It's in her IEP and she has had this service since being in the preschool disabled class. One of the nurses drives to her bus stop in the morning, rides to school, rides back to the bus stop, and then she gets in her car and goes home from there. You can get anything into an IEP if you fight hard enough!


New member
even if you don't meet until June, you can request a special meeting just for that... I would request the special bus... it can be daunting for a kindergartner to be on a bus with kids that range all the way up to 5th or 6th grade.

they usually benefit from compartmentalization at about 40lbs & 40", but with her having an IEP, I'd think of taking advantage of at least having her on a smaller bus with less amount of noisy kids and an adult aide instead of one of the oldest kids being a "safety patrol" monitor.

Ruthie is doing a lot better (she had some serious impulse control issues and the vast number of kids on the return trip (she did fine on the trip there because it was just kindergarten kids as they went half days and she was in the afternoon class) just was too much for her in kindergarten), but I still want her on the special needs bus for at least one more year (she still ASKS to sit at the small table outside the cafeteria (which is used for punishment for kids who get in trouble in the cafeteria) because the crowds and the noise just bother her)

She's had the same bus drivers for the most part (after we got rid of one atrocious one) since kindy and she loves them (except for said atrocious one) and she also has the bonus that she rides with one of her best school friends who is in her class and is adament that she wants to continue that.

However, when she DOES make the switch, I've found out that ANOTHER one of her favorite school friends is on the regular bus with her brothers (Jeffrey told me that delicious piece of info), so I can use that to help the transition. But I think I'm gonna try to have her not try until her best friend makes the switch, too (she's already had to deal with us no longer seeing the friend at the therapist's office because we had to switch the day of her appts. a few months ago)

Anyway... I also would love to second the statement of the pp "You can get anything into an IEP if you fight hard enough!" and with her seizures, I'd want at least an aide, I'd want to be able to brief the bus driver & aide with instructions on what happens if she has one and what to do... and also have it in her IEP that she is to ride either in a seat you provide that is installed properly and used properly, or in an appropriate special needs restraint (harness or vest) because of her seizures to keep her in position.


New member
Thanks for the input everyone. I can not believe that I didn't even think of the crowd and noise factor! :eek: :doh: I think the minute she gets a glimpse of what it's like on the regular bus (if she ends up on a regular bus, that is) she'll panic and that'll be the end of it. She has sensory and social issues also, and can't tolerate crowded places or lots of noise. And the cafeteria... :( Fortunately we won't have to think about the cafeteria until 1st grade.

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