FRISCO, Texas — A school bus driver-monitor team from Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District in Texas took home first place, while Plano ISD teams came in second and third at the special needs roadeo held during the Transporting Students with Disabilities (TSD) and Special Needs Conference.
Dawn Kilgore and Carol Moore won first place with a score of 896 out of 900 possible points. Kilgore started driving for Cy-Fair in 2020 as a regular education driver. In 2022, she transitioned to driving special needs routes. This year, she was named the state’s Special Needs Driver of the Year. She also competed for the first time in the Texas Association for Pupil Transportation SPED Roadeo, where she placed second in the district, second in regionals, and third in the state.
Moore, on the other hand, has been with Cy-Fair since January 2014, when she started as a bus attendant. After 11 months, she became a special education bus driver, a position she has held for almost 10 years. She has competed in roadeos as a driver or attendant since the 2015-2016 school year.
From Plano ISD, Andwain Coleman and Reza Sayban took second place. Also from Plano ISD, Kyle Collins and Bianka Joshua placed third. Collins and Joshua were the first place roadeo winners at the 2022 TSD Conference. Collins has been a school bus driver for six years.
Breakdown of “Students”
The following is a summary of students and their disabilities/conditions played by student transportation professionals during the behavior management portion of the Roadeo.
Logan – ADHD
Logan is a 16-year-old student diagnosed with ADHD. Specifically, ODD. Logan can be defiant, negative and hostile. He lives with his parents and one younger sister. While riding the school bus to his out-of-district school his behavior is inconsistent due to changes being made to his medication. Logan has a tendency to blame others for his actions.
Ricky – Autism / Runner
Ricky is 15 years old. He qualifies for special education with a diagnosis of autism. He has deficits and limits in speech and language; however, he can communicate verbally if given ample time and encouragement. When Ricky is agitated he has a tendency to exhibit self-stimulatory verbal and physical behavior. He prefers to ride in the back of the bus where the bus’ motion seems to calm him down. Responds to conflict with a tendency to remove himself from the area.
Kelly – Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
Kelly is a 13-year old with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Kelly has impaired practical reasoning skills and is unable to understand the results of his/her actions. Kelly often misses social cues and because of his/her eagerness to please, can be easily manipulated by his/her peers. Kelly also has an attraction to strangers and because of this, often does not get along with peers.
Chris – Down Syndrome
Chris is a non-verbal 13-year-old with Down Syndrome. Chris can be impulsive, stubborn, oppositional and get easily frustrated. Chris has a history of wandering off when left unattended, because of this, Chris is in a safety vest. Chris knows very basic sign language such as: Yes, no, please, thank you, stop, sit and sorry.
The awards were presented Sunday morning during a breakfast banquet sponsored by roadeo sponsor Q’Straint/Sure-Lok, manufacturers of wheelchair securements. The event took place Saturday at Frisco ISD.
The roadeo training and competition, presented by School Transportation News and coordinated by the industry group Women in Transportation. (wit.), consisted of 11 driver-attendant teams competing in various aspects of special needs transportation.
“I want to thank all of you for participating. We love doing this,” said Alexandra Robinson, a roadeo organizer with wit. and a TSD Tenured Faculty member, during the banquet. “I know that there is not only passion [but also] stress and competition and everything else. But the whole idea is for you learn to something and have fun.”
Teams drove a course that mimicked a school bus route, starting with passenger loading. A driver-trainer was also on board to observe. The teams had to manage student behavior and complete the route, which included a railroad crossing.
The teams also had to drive an obstacle course consisting of barrels and then reverse and park into a confined location. The last emergency scenario, which is based on a real situation that occurred during the past year, consisted of parents already at a bus stop demanding that their children be released by the bus driver. The actors, several industry professionals, banged on the windows and doors as the drivers and attendants attempted to keep the “children” with challenging behaviors safe inside the bus. The behaviors were tied to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, autism, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder and Down syndrome.
“Everything single thing we do, every single behavior we demonstrate, every single emergency event we create is based on real-life events,” Robinson added on the student behaviors being portrayed on the bus.
She noted that some attendees stated that the behaviors were out of control.
“Yes, unfortunately in many of the places we’re transporting, behaviors are out of control. We do go a little over the top … but we are reenacting things that have already happened. And yes it’s bad, because behavior is bad.”
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