A brand new school year means that changes in routine will occur. This can be really stressful for kids who have certain types of special needs. School just started, but already, there are problems with the busses that transport Special Education students to and from school.
Children with autism rely on knowing that their day will have a set, expected, schedule. In school, a student may be using a laminated chart that shows what will happen first, next, and after that, for his or her entire school day. Or, the chart could be a digital one that is on an iPad. This brings some comfort for students who have a really difficult time with transitions.
Often, parents of kids who have an autism spectrum disorder will spend a great deal of time in the weeks before a new school year starts preparing their child for the transition. This is a good way to alleviate some anxiety the child is feeling about the changes that happen when Summer ends and school starts again.
An adherence to routine is vital. So, when something doesn’t go as planned, such as the school bus failing to arrive to pick up the student, this is a big problem!
In Atlanta, a school bus was supposed to pick up several students who were attending Inman Middle School. The bus never came. The students were part of a program for students who have autism. Parents attempted to get in contact with the the school and the transportation department, but this didn’t lead to a solution.
One parent, Robert Ross, resorted to driving his son to the school himself. He said that his son’s teacher said that there was no Special Education bus that morning for Inman Middle School. Mr. Ross said that the same thing happened on the first day of school last year.
On the second day of school, there were more problems. Some busses were up to 20 minutes late, which meant that students were late for school. Other busses never arrived at all, leaving parents to find their own transportation solutions.
This time, it seems that the bussing problems had spread to include all students, not only the ones who were part of the Special Education program. Problems continued in the afternoon, when busses dropped off some students an hour and fifteen minutes later than expected. This is not a good way to start off a brand new school year!
Image by Svadilfari on Flickr