Monday, June 30, 2008
Bus Number What?
My school district does an adequate job at some things. They even do a really good job at other things. (Usually those other things do not involve children with special needs though.) But there is one thing that they do a really, really bad job at, at least in my opinion, and that is bus service for children with disabilities.
The regular school year ended just two weeks ago. Ashley, however, goes to school year round (ESY services). Since the regular school year ended and the summer services began, Ashley has had four different bus drivers and four different bus aides. The bus pickup time in the morning has changed twice already as has the bus return home time. Setting aside the fact that none of the eight drivers or aides can communicate with Ashley (they know no sign language), doesn’t anyone in school administration understand how disconcerting significant change can be to a child with a disability? Ashley is a little more understanding than some of her peers, but I have seen children with autism refuse, absolutely refuse, to get on a bus if it is a different type of bus or staffed with different people. And so far, I have been given no explanation as to why the bus staff and the schedules have to change with such alarming frequency.
I imagine it is not an easy job to plan bus routes and schedules, especially in a school district as large as mine. But I have to wonder if anyone from the special education staff is ever asked for input on issues surrounding the transport of children with disabilities. As a parent, I have never addressed transportation issues in the IEP process, but it may be time to do so.