Although in-person events have temporarily ceased, expert training and advice on transporting students with disabilities and special needs is still accessible via the upcoming TSD Virtual Conference & Trade Show.
Tony Briscoe, director of transportation for Oxnard School District in southern California, shared his appreciation for the unique opportunity that the event presents for those who may have been interested in the onsite TSD Conference but were not able to attend due to the cost of travel, hotel and other expenses.
“I hope someday I can attend in person but while we are in declining enrollment and budget cuts, virtual is affordable and means less time away from the office – it’s perfect for my situation,” he explained.
The TSD Virtual event features a keynote and Q & A session on Monday, Nov. 9, by autism spectrum advocate, animal husbandry expert, author and inventor Temple Grandin. She is also the subject of an Emmy Award-winning 2010 HBO biographical film.
Grandin will share her perspectives on and experience with autism, as well as the importance of focusing on the child rather than the disability she or he may have.
“In the 1950s when I grew up, they threw away kids like me,” she said about the common practice of institutionalizing many children who had disabilities, especially the much-misunderstood autism spectrum.
Then came the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and subsequently the Education for All Handicapped Children Act and then the Individuals with Disabilities Act.
Grandin, who is acclaimed for her ability to see pictures in her mind based on words spoken by others, will share her perspective on the importance school bus drivers play in the total education of students with special needs.
“I am most looking forward to hearing from Temple Grandin – she brings humor and wit to her presentations and I always learn a lot,” shared Katrina Morris, transportation director for West Shore ESD in Indiana.
The Nov. 10 keynote will be provided by Dr. Marilyn Bull, an expert in developmental-behavioral pediatrics and neurodevelopmental disabilities. She is the Morris Green Professor of Pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine -Department of Pediatrics as well as an active member of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Dr. Bull will discuss the AAP’s latest interim guidance on cleaning child safety restraint systems and its position on the safe return of students to school, followed by a live Q & A.
The popular class “Fundamentals of Special Needs Transportation” returns and is being split between all three days. Presenters include Kathy Furneaux, executive director of the Pupil Transportation Safety Institute in Syracuse, New York; Alex Robinson, who has extensive experience in special needs and student transportation leadership and is a tenured faculty member of the TSD Conference; and John Benish, president and COO of Chicago-based bus contractor Cook-Illinois Corporation.
Other topics to be discussed are lessons learned from transporting students with special needs amid COVID-19, sexual assault on the school bus, personnel challenges and decisions, developing partnerships between school districts and private transportation contractors, proper child passenger securement, and more.
Register at tsdconference.com for the special rate of $199 through Friday, Nov. 6.