How we meet the transportation needs of students with IEPs

23-0621_ii_hsd_valley0932Did you know HopSkipDrive has enabled hundreds of thousands of rides for students with disabilities, and that we continue to deliver new products and services to best meet their unique needs? 

HopSkipDrive understands the extra consideration and care students with disabilities, including those with IEPs, sometimes need. We are always willing and able to work alongside districts and schools to ensure the unique needs of every student are met.

In this article, we’ll touch on how the hallmarks of a ride with HopSkipDrive are a perfect match for students with transportation-mandated IEPs or 504s, or anyone who needs a little extra care. 

We’ll talk about how we offer: 

  • A consistent, positive ride experience
  • A level of safety that provides peace of mind
  • An easy ride booking process
  • A flexible network of “CareDrivers” who have proven caregiving experience
  • An intuitive, user-friendly platform

Read on to learn how, with HopSkipDrive, schools, parents and caregivers can…

1. Expect a consistent, positive ride experience

We understand how important routine is for children with disabilities, especially those who have been diagnosed with such things as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or sensory processing disorder (SPD). Following a daily schedule of activities that are part of a predictable routine can ease anxiety and create a sense of security for these students. 

This is one of many reasons why we created, and are committed to maintaining, a dependable ride experience with multiple elements that remain the same for every ride, every time. 

We recently began piloting two new programs that will offer even more consistency and assistance for students with disabilities. The Primary CareDriver + program enables the same highly qualified CareDriver to provide at least 80% of an individual Rider’s rides, while the Rider Assistant program allows for an extra adult to be present during a ride to provide additional support for a Rider who needs it. 

In addition, our customized experience for caregivers and parents of students with disabilities offers enhanced onboarding and support. Caregivers are given a direct line to speak to the HopSkipDrive team before their student’s first ride to help ensure all their needs are known and taken care of. Caregivers also receive a message to download the HopSkipDrive Caregiver app so they can track their student’s ride.

“Consistency is a very valuable asset to provide for these students,” says one of our education partners who works with us to fulfill transportation requirements for students with IEPs. “HopSkipDrive provides that.” 

Related: A consistent driver isn’t the only part of a consistent experience

2. Enjoy true safety and peace of mind

Our numerous safety processes — some of which we’ve outlined below — ensure students’ well-being while allowing for their individual needs and preferences to be shared, understood and met. 

The Rider Notes feature on the HopSkipDrive app enables parents and caregivers of children with disabilities to share important information about a Rider and any specific needs they may have, such as if they are nonverbal or have a sensitivity to smells, sounds or other stimuli. Providing personalized notes about things like this helps us better meet the Rider’s needs, which in turn helps the Rider have a better experience. 

With HopSkipDrive, caregivers and Ride Organizers can review the assigned CareDriver’s profile ahead of time, so they’ll know who they are, what they look like, and what kind of car they drive. Unique pickup and drop-off instructions can also be specified.

HopSkipDrive monitors every active ride in real-time, ensuring each student gets from point A to point B safely. CareDrivers understand and abide by our rigorous safety standards and are committed to providing Riders with a safe, comfortable and enjoyable ride from home or school to wherever their IEP indicates. 

CareDrivers also display a HopSkipDrive decal on their car, and will always confirm a student’s code word and birth date at pickup. 

Related: HopSkipDrive safety FAQs

3. Book rides with extraordinary flexibility

HopSkipDrive knows the importance of being where we say we’re going to be, exactly when we say we’ll be there. That’s why our personalized transportation solutions are ultra-customizable and easy to manage. Rides and routes can be altered or added with only eight hours’ notice, and all education rides are guaranteed. 

Says one of our education partners: “The flexibility of HopSkipDrive has allowed us to schedule rides for one student’s behavioral therapy, as well as arrange transportation to meet the demands of her schedule. For me, personally, it is easy to create my routes and build them on HopSkipDrive’s RideIQ platform.” 

4. Rely on empathetic, knowledgeable "CareDrivers"

23-0621_ii_hsd_valley0687Drivers who are certified on the HopSkipDrive platform (who are known as “CareDrivers”) aren’t just experienced drivers — they’re also experienced caregivers. Through our rigorous CareDriver certification process, we require that all CareDrivers have five or more years of caregiving experience (including two years working with or caring for children) under their belts. 

Data shows that CareDrivers have an average of 10 years of caregiving experience, and they come from a variety of backgrounds. They are parents, grandparents, babysitters, nurses, former teachers and more. Over 27% of CareDrivers have backgrounds in education; of that population, many report they’ve worked as a special education teacher or as a paraeducator.

We recognize the needs of individuals are incredibly diverse, and we understand that a Rider’s disability may or may not be readily apparent. That’s why during onboarding we offer educational support and resources to help CareDrivers learn how to anticipate the potential needs of Riders, and understand best practices related to accessibility.

CareDrivers are dedicated to going above and beyond to meet specific needs of Riders, and by doing so they are helping caregivers/parents and schools and districts, too. Says one HopSkipDrive parent: “HopSkipDrive is a dream. We’ve been using the service for two years, and I can’t say enough good things. When you leave your child in the arms of a perfect stranger, you worry. HopSkipDrive makes me feel safe. The CareDrivers have always been prompt, courteous, professional, and most importantly, dependable.”

Related: The CareDriver connection

5. Skip the frustration with a user-friendly platform

HopSkipDrive’s intuitive technology makes it simple to schedule, monitor and manage students’ rides to and from school, activities and appointments. Whether a school district has one student with an IEP or hundreds, HopSkipDrive’s technology offers real-time visibility into each student’s ride status for school districts, parents and caregivers. The RideIQ platform also allows for the quick and easy creation, editing and canceling of rides. 

“The ability to schedule and change rides online with HopSkipDrive really streamlined the process,” says one HopSkipDrive school partner. “The app allows parents/caregivers to schedule and change rides, too.”

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