Dear Mr. Bus Driver,
Here we are in January, 4 months after the start of school, and you asked me for the 6th time this morning what you could say to Ashley to make her keep her shoes on during the bus ride to school.
I said, just as I have said the previous 5 times you asked, "Tell her she must keep them on." I could tell by the way you rolled your eyes that you didn't care for my flippant answer. But trust me, you would like flippant much more than all the other emotions I was feeling but not sharing.
I shared a document with you the first day of school and again two weeks after school started that discussed the challenges Ashley faces as well as behaviors you might expect to see on the morning bus ride. I know that Ashley's teacher has also shared information with you on several occasions. So yes, I was surprised and a tad annoyed that you were asking the same questions again.
Ashley has some sensory issues. She doesn't like shoes or hats and left to her own devices will remove those things if possible. But as you and I both know, there are times when she shouldn't remove her shoes and hat - like say when the temperature outside is in the 20's or 30's. When I suggested you tell her she has to keep her shoes on, I also mentioned that because Ashley has deafblindness, you or the aide must speak very loudly if you want her to hear you. Your response, "Oh? She can't hear me?." Again, that information was shared many times in the past.
So now you tell me - what must I do or say to make you understand? It's obvious that the bus aide has no interaction with Ashley whatsoever. So while you are driving the bus, how do you expect her to get the message about not taking her shoes off? You even asked me to tell her before she got on the bus that she must keep them on. Do you have any children, Sir? If so, can you tell them what the rules are and they always follow the rules when they are out of your sight? If so, please share your secrets.
Here's how it should be handled:
- If the aide sees Ashley start to reach for her shoelaces, he should loudly and firmly tell her no.
- The aide should then sign STOP, SHOES ON. I know for a fact that the teacher has shared those signs with you.
- If Ashley keeps trying, keep signing and speaking loudly and firmly to her.
- If that still doesn't work, give her a magazine or something to busy her hands with. There are always things like that in her backpack, and I know her teacher has shared that with you.
I'll also offer some other advice which I know is none of my business. So, you may just ignore if you like. You need to expect your bus aide to do his job. If he is not doing his job (and obviously he is not), then you need to correct that problem. The ultimate responsiblity for the children on your bus is yours. Personally, I wouldn't want a lazy, good for nothing aide jeopardizing that for me.
ATM: Ronnie's smile when he received his birthday present this morning!