Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Why So Many Changes?

Ashley has been receiving ESY services for six weeks so far this summer. During those six weeks, she has had three different bus drivers, three different bus aides, three different busses and three different bus schedules. Her ESY hours have not changed – for the entire six weeks she has been receiving services from 8am until noon each day.

I just don’t get it. I will acknowledge that setting up bus schedules during the regular school year is a daunting task. A whole bunch of students have to be delivered to a whole bunch of schools. But during the summer, the numbers are drastically reduced. Why three major changes in six weeks??

As all parents of children with disabilities, especially children with significant disabilities, know, changes are difficult. For a child like Ashley who is deafblind, all the differences are magnified. Each bus, driver, and aide smell and feel different. She can tell when the time the bus arrives is different. She gets anxious when the schedule changes, and changes significantly. For the last two weeks, she was picked up at 7:10am each morning. Starting this week, she is picked up at 7:40am. She is going to the same school and school starts at the same time. So what is up with the significant schedule change?

And I’m tired of having to go through my spiel each time there is a change – “Ashley is deaf. She can’t hear you talking to her. She is blind. She cannot see the steps to disembark from the bus. She has seizures. Here is what they look like. Here is what you need to do and not do when she has one. Yes, she prefers to sit in the first seat behind the driver. No, you may not take away her ball of wires and pipecleaners. Etc. Etc. Etc.”

There are four weeks of ESY services yet to be delivered. Does anyone want to take bets on how many more bus changes and schedule changes Ashley will be expected to handle?


Queenbuv3 said...

That is just unacceptable! Have you contacted the bus company for an explanation? My son has subs for his bus and/or monitor a few times during the school year. I would be very irritated by all this bus foolishness. Hope they stop changing things and you can get into some kind of routine.

Sheri said...

I know it is difficult and for that I am sorry. I know in our school corporation summer schedules are a hot commodity and due to unions rules, bus drivers who want to work the summer have to rotate weeks so that everyone who wants to drive can.

I am assuming that in the current economy many drivers would like the ability to get in their hours. In our corporation there is also restrictions about having to take vacation hours in the summer (our drivers only get a 3 week schedule as well) so this contributes to the turnaround. I am certain the drivers would like to do the entire 12 weeks just as much as you would like them to.

There are always contributing factors. Doesn't make it any easier to deal with, but sometimes it helps to look at it from a different perspective. When this happens with my son, I look at it as a reason to talk about how his world will not always be so routine and we start working on being more flexible.

Unfortunately life is not always easy.

little.birdy said...

You know...my initial instinct was, "Man, I need to ask Ashley's mom what school system that is so I never go work there. They sound awful!" And then it changed to, "Man, I need to ask Ashley's mom what school system that is so I can go work there and fight for those kids and young adults." Here's hoping they get their act together!

Ashley's Mom said...

Sheri, I agree with you that life for our kids is often difficult and that they need to learn some adjustment techniques. I think we could have done that had I been notified that the changes were going to take place. I could have used the opportunity to prepare Ashley and thus build some of those adjustments techniques. The problem was that I was given no advance notice. Just one day a bus shows up at 7:10 and the next it shows up at 7:40. I just need a little notice and I can work with transportation.

little.birdy, surprisingly my school district is one of the 'richest' and most prestigious in the area. But, those honors are the result of how they educate kids that are easier to educate - the brains, like my oldest son. Had I never adopted children with special needs, I would probably think my school district was superb. The chink in their armor though is how they value and attempt to educate children with special needs. To me, they seem to write off the kids with significant disabilities, and that is evidenced by the huge number of complaints and due process cases they get.

When it comes to kids in special ed, the arrogance born of the smart kids turns ugly.

Erin said...

I can definitely relate to what you have posted here. When I was younger, I definitely remember my parents fighting harder than you can imagine for things like this. Despite all the hard things that you go through, though, you have four beautiful children who all love their mommy very much!

Kristin said...

I am so sorry you are having a difficult time with the busing situation.

I, too, had a hard time when my son was in a SDC and had ESY.

We just didn't have the funds to obtain legal action (all of our $$ went to getting our son into regular general ed class) to fight the bus situation.

It seems the bus problem is the same in a lot of places.

I ended up driving my son to school each and every day and picking him up. Luckily, I was able to do this. It was better than him being on the bus for over an hour and being bit, etc.