Like most kids with ASD, my daughter rides the school bus for which our district provides and pays. How this works is that the district bids the run for the new school year and the lowest, most cost effective bid wins. We have a new bus company every year. Every year I call the district, or the state Education Commission, to complain. My complaint is that the staff has had the usual amount of training, which is of course ‘zero’! These companies are usually understaffed, unsupportive and disorganized!  The aides that are assigned the job to watch an entire bus of special needs, non-verbal, and often aggressive children are basically thrown to the wolves! Most of the time these are nice people who need to make a buck but have absolutely no idea what they are doing. Sometimes they are not physically able to handle our kids! Honestly I would not feel comfortable leaving these people to care for my pet goldfish, let alone my child with ASD! Yet, every year it is the same story... I am supposed to watch my daughter climb on to the bus, smile and wave good-bye.  

One year, I had a terrible fight with the driver who was uncaring and had a nasty attitude. The aide was not much better!  Once again, I had to call the district whereupon many phone calls ensued.  Result: No Changes. This particular incident ended unfortunately when this same team left a child on the bus by accident in the middle of summer. Thank goodness the child was verbal enough to recount this horror to his mother.  Instead of admitting what they had done this pair of geniuses tried to tell him not to tell his mother! They did not even give him water, or admit anything when the mom questioned why he was so sweaty! Yes! This really happened!

Last year, I witnessed a terrible incident with a very aggressive child who could not be appropriately controlled by the aide. As a result another student got hurt in the crossfire. This happened  in front of me! One more time I had to call the district!  Since I refuse to stand for this less than appropriate standard of care we finally have a school bus with a video camera.   Of course, yet another incident of inappropriate behavior occurred in front of me last week!  I immediately called my old friends from the district and demanded the footage pulled. The irony is when this happens, the bus company has to review the footage first, and then we have to hope that the footage they are sending is uncut and that it won't disappear in transport. We also take the chance that this footage won't get lost, erased or just not sent... by accident of course!  If the footage is actually sent to the district we parents are not allowed to view it!  All the while, we are just expected to load our precious cargo on the bus and hope for the best!

Well I have had enough! Please comment on this and let me know if you agree! I say it is time that we, the parents of our children take matters into our own hands!  What if we say “No!” to this ridiculous policy of choosing the lowest bidder? How about we hire our own transportation, train our own staff and run the show ourselves! We can band together and have our own carpool vans!  Then we can we can request the transportation costs be refunded by the district and the Education Commission!

The state and district know that the current system does not work, they know that change is not good for our kids, and they know we will not just sit by and watch our kids ride off into the sunset basically unsupervised for almost two hours a day! Some of us wouldn't have our backs turned for 10 minutes!

To put this in terms of my BUFFERS program let's go with F- Find Something Bigger Than Yourself!  Remember the deal that surviving Autism is NOT to fight it but to embrace it! This is not about MY child but OUR children! There is a need to be filled!  A need that is bigger than any one of us! Can you imagine a transportation company that actually caters to people with ASD???

That would be one busy bus company! They could get business from school districts and community organizations! It would have well- trained friendly staff and be especially equipped for ASD individuals!   We as parents could actually exhale, if only just for a minute!

Well I am in! Who's with me?

 


Comments

Amanda
10/03/2012 10:34am

I agree I would be totally upset. I am like that about my daughter's school I get emails all the time about her behavior but our school here that specializes doesnt start till 2nd grade so till then we are stuck in public school. And these people are not qualified to tell me they know what is best if they did they would not force her in a room with 27 other kids and expect her to sit in her seat and comply with all directions. You are moving in the right direction

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I concur I would be completely disturbed. I resemble that about my little girl's school I get messages all the time about her conduct yet our school here that practices doesnt begin till second grade so till then we are stuck in state funded school.

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