A bus driver high fiving students as they board a bus

Bus drivers and transportation staff work directly with students with autism and are responsible for their and others' safety during the routes. Drivers and assistants are the first faces students see in the morning and the last ones in the afternoon. They are critical liaisons between home and school and often have more interaction with parents than other school staff. Beyond simply driving, transportation staff are in charge of managing behavior, implementing accommodations, and collaborating with school-based staff. This training gives perspectives and strategies for working with students with autism and supporting their communication and behavioral needs in a transportation setting. Completion of these training modules meets requirements of State Bill 229 (i.e., "the Hanger Bill").

"Safety for All: Autism Training for Transportation Staff" is a hybrid training series designed specifically to meet the needs of this unique group. Participants first complete two hours of online video modules, followed by live discussion and activities facilitated by division special education and transportation staff. The online learning component comprises smaller modules covering the characteristics of autism and strategies for working with these students, with examples specific to bus drivers and staff. Modules are accessible to participants through the MyACE Dashboard, which allows users to customize their autism knowledge discovery in several topics and earn badges for their progress. The following video describes the registration process for the online modules: View Video Transcript

Click here for a preview of the first introductory module. Other topics include: Characteristics of Autism, Positive Behavior Supports, Supports and Strategies, Bullying, Unexpected Changes, Restraint and Seclusion, and Collaboration. Facilitated discussion and activities make that knowledge actionable and relevant by connecting the information with the processes and procedures specific to your division. With resources and support from VCU-ACE, at least one special education staff and one transportation staff will be needed to facilitate the discussion component.

Division leaders will need to decide on a format for delivering the training aligned to the availability and needs of staff, but VCU-ACE is here to help problem solve, find solutions, and provide resources and support.

Models for delivering online content access include:

  • Autonomous - Participants meet in a computer lab and complete modules in whole or in parts, with facilitated discussion following each module.
  • Small group - Participants meet in a classroom and view module videos together followed by facilitated discussion.
  • Independent - Participants are responsible for completing online modules ahead of time before meeting together for facilitated discussion.

We want this training to facilitate the partnership between special education and transportation, and think you may find the most value from the training where staff from both departments are present to answer questions that may arise, direct attention to division-specific policies and procedures, and speak to points of contact for drivers and staff to know.

We want to partner with you in implementing this training and ensuring it is a meaningful experience within the context of your school division. Please email Crystal Hence,, to talk more about how this training can support the transportation staff and the students they serve in your community. Certificates are available upon request to ensure transportation staff stay in compliance with requirements of S.B. 229. Contact us for details.


Click below to download the Facilitator Guide and Participant Handout.

download icon Facilitator Guide [pdf] download icon Facilitator Guide [word] download icon Participant Handout [pdf] download icon Participant Handout [word]