What I Pack for Community Based Instruction Outings

functional life skills life skills special education teachers transition Oct 20, 2021
My schedule allows me to take my young adults into the community every day of the week. Yes, 5 days a week! Since so much of our time is spent on community based instruction (CBI) outings, we need to be prepared for anything and everything at all times.
With many years of CBI’s under my belt, I know what to pack and what we can utilize from the community to meet our needs (and lighten our load).
Below is a pack list of what we bring on a typical outing:


  • Emergency card for each student (allergies, contact information, important health/medical info- see explanation below)
  • Seizure action plans
  • Driving directions for bus driver
  • Schedule of the day for bus driver
  • Schedule for the day with attendance list
  • Water
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Visuals to support behaviors
  • Data sheet to collect IEP goal data
  • Sunscreen or bug spray, if applicable
  • Confirmation numbers for reservations
  • Tickets, if needed
  • Waivers for participation, if needed
  • Tax Exempt Form (if shopping for groceries)
  • Store Savers card (if shopping for groceries)
  • Thank you card (if eating at a sit down restaurant to thank wait staff)
  • Extra masks and mask exemption paperwork, if applicable
  • *Text picture of schedule of the day to support staff
  • ***Sanity

Young Adult Students (in their own bag)

  • Toileting supplies (diapers, wipes, chux, change of clothes and socks, shopping bags to toss used diapers in before throwing them away)
  • Disposable gloves
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Specialized/Adaptive equipment, as needed (i.e. adaptive dinner plate)
  • Preferred sensory/rec leisure activities (3-4)
  • Gait belt, if student will be transferring to use the bathroom
We rely on common community resources to get our other needs met. Below is what we typically request from the community sites we visit.


  • Extra napkins, plates, cups
  • Silverware
  • Cups with lids (kid’s cup, if necessary)
  • Drinks without ice
  • Preferential seating (if watching a show or movie)
Before we leave for particular outings, I will call ahead or let them know that a bigger group is coming. I will call ahead to restaurants, especially if we are enjoying a sit down restaurant, or small businesses who might appreciate the heads up from a large rush of patrons. If you have students who use wheelchairs and may need a little more space to move around at a restaurant, then just up the number of people you tell them is coming so they give you a big enough space.
If you are going to a restaurant and have a student who may not be ordering food from the menu and bringing their own food, due to dietary restrictions, consider reaching out to the restaurant ahead of time so they know to expect this. This will definitely help the experience go more smoothly when everyone knows what to expect.
If your state/region/city requires individuals who are not vaccinated to wear masks and you have students who are medically excused from wearing a mask and not vaccinated, consider calling ahead to where you are going and alert the staff that you will be visiting and have mask exemptions paperwork, should any staff request it.
The Emergency Cards were an idea from my school nurse. They wanted a quick way to pass important information about students to emergency personnel should something occur outside the school building. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just up-to-date!
I prefer to have a dedicated ‘community bag’ where I keep these materials and just toss in my personal wallet before we leave, but I’ve also had smaller bags with the same materials and just taken it along with my own purse. Either way, try out more than one method and find what works best for you!
Community based instruction outings can be meaningful AND fun when you are properly packed and prepared!

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