The short bus to nowhere

April 30, 2009 at 10:36 am 5 comments

     As I read the story of a seven year old autistic boy in Springfield, Illinois who was assaulted on the bus (the special needs bus, no less!), I am reminded of the constant vigilance we must take to protect our children. It’s stories like these that reinforce the feeling that it will be a cold day in Arizona before I let C ride the bus. Thankfully, for the moment, he not only wants me to take him to school every day, but also wait on the playground until the bell rings and he goes inside. 

     I feel as though I’m protecting him from an invisible enemy that shows up at random and unexpected times. He could probably ride the bus for years without incident, but given that as I type I can still see the scars on my arm from a child who constantly harassed me on the bus as a kid, it’s just not a chance I’m willing to take. While C is capable of and often does speak up for himself, there’s an equal number of times when he inexplicably does not do so. When he suddenly burst into tears over Spring Break saying he wanted to move because a boy at school told C he wanted to kill him, I tried to impart the importance of reporting such incidents to someone, anyone, in real time instead of days or weeks later.

     So am I overprotective? Absolutely. I’m the first to admit it. Yet these very special kids need more protection than most, and if we as parents don’t do it, who will?

Entry filed under: autism. Tags: , , , , , , , .

Harvard or Yale? The truth is out

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Nicki  |  April 30, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    Yeah, the school bus is often a sort of Lord Of The Flies situation… and the bus drivers, even those who drive busses for kids with special needs, aren’t really trained in how to deal with or help kids, except for like CPR and stuff!

  • 2. therocchronicles  |  April 30, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    Oh man. I’m dealing with these anxieties right now and I have the Roc on the bus! He LOVES to ride. Right now. I’m worried about next year when he goes to kindergarten. He was having such a rough time transitioning from me to preschool when I drove him and acted like he couldn’t do ANYTHING for himself: take off his coat, hang up his bag, etc. The teacher suggested he ride the bus as a way to gain some independence from me. Sure enough, he is way more independent when I’m not there. I’m terribly worried about next year though.

  • 3. goodmum  |  April 30, 2009 at 5:41 pm

    I’m glad you wrote about this. I feel sometimes that half of Little Man’s problems are a result of the fact that I’m over-protective. Then I remind myself that it’s MY JOB to protect him. ANd you reminded me today. Thanks. I needed that.

  • 4. hopeauthority  |  May 2, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    Keep being over-protective! And for everyone who can manage to do so: please insist on a matron for the short bus ON YOUR IEP!

    I have had to do this the past 2 years after an awful incident on the first day of school for kindergarten. If you say your kid won’t stay buckled and may try to get out the back door, they should put a matron on that bus for you.

    We’ve been lucky with good matrons and drivers since that first day two years ago. But we stay on top of it.

    Now that sounds like quite the story. Sheesh – I can’t imagine them not heeding your warning about that. You should be able to ask for anything you want after an incident like that!!! Perhaps you should take advantage of what surely must be some guilt on their parts about that…

  • 5. BQkimmy  |  May 7, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    I hadn’t really thought about this before. I never rode the bus so I guess it never really crossed my mind what might go on. I can see how it could be an issue for special needs children. I would have thought it safer on the special needs bus, but then some of the children do have violent outbursts as conditions OF their special needs.

    My son takes the bus to preschool. (well he did, until last week anyway) He LOVES the bus, loves the bus driver and loves his assistant. Of course his bus is just for special needs preschool kids and I am sure that makes a difference. Each child has their own assistant on the bus and they form a bond. I have only seen the bus as a good thing. You give me reason to stop and think about how that will change as my son gets older.

    For whatever reason, the bus has always scared me for C. It’s just one more unstructured time in which problems arise – just like recess and lunch! If I could get rid of all those things, he’d be fine. 😉


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